- State officials gave an update regarding state preparedness measures ahead of Hurrican Ian’s landfall on Florida’s west coast later this week
- Various teams have been activated to alleviate road damages, health access, and evacuation congestion across the state
- 5,000 Florida Guardsmen have been called to State Active Duty to assist in response actions. 2,000 additional Guardsmen from Tennessee, Georgia, and North Carolina have been called to reinforce
Gov. Ron DeSantis on Monday afternoon gave an update on the status of state readiness and response efforts ahead of Hurricane Ian’s projected landfall on the Florida peninsula later this week.
Various levels of response measures have been activated across the gamut of state agencies. DeSantis’ extension of his earlier State of Emergency declaration allows for enhanced preparatory measures, including roadway services, food and water logistical stockpiling, and disaster response activation.
Five Urban Search and Rescue Teams have been activated and will be ready to deploy to affected regions. Furthermore, the Florida Department of Emergency Management (FDEM) has begun establishing Logistical Staging Areas in Polk County and is evaluating potential additional staging areas and points of distribution to guarantee food and water are readily accessible if counties so desire.
Furthermore, FDEM has loaded 360 vehicles with over 2 million meals and one million gallons of water for distribution to afflicted communities. FDEM has also worked with utility companies to ensure that staff is ready to respond and restore power. According to DeSantis, utility companies have more than 25,000 linemen ready to go for power restoration work.
“Even if the eye of the storm doesn’t hit your region, you’re going to have really significant winds,” said DeSantis on Monday. “It’s going to knock over trees, it’s going to cause interruptions. It’s just the name of the game, so be prepared for that,” the governor said today in reference to anticipated power outages.
Following Governor DeSantis’ authorization, 5,000 Florida Guardsmen have been activated to State Active Duty and are being pre-positioned at armories around the state in preparation for Hurricane Ian response operations. 2,000 additional Guardsmen from Tennessee, Georgia, and North Carolina have been activated to assist.
In anticipation of roadway blockages, The Florida Guard has mobilized as of Monday morning and is on standby with five Route Clearance Teams.
The Florida Department of Health is working with the Office of Insurance Regulation to issue an advisory on permissible early prescription refills under the State of Emergency. This notice will provide Floridians who rely on drugs more convenient access to refills and pharmacy services during the storm.
Upon Ian’s landfall, nearly 300 ambulances, paratransit busses, and support vehicles are being deployed in areas of anticipated damage.
To assist in evacuation efforts, road tolls have been suspended in various areas of expected impact. Included highways include Polk Parkway in Polk County, Suncoast Parkway in Pasco, Hernando, and Citrus County, Veterans Expressway in Pasco, Hernando, and Citrus County, the I-4 Connector in Hillsborough County, Selmon Expressway in Hillsborough County, Pinellas Bayway in Pinellas County, Sunshine Skyway Bridge in Pinellas County, Garcon Point Bridge in Santa Rosa County, Spence Parkway in Okaloosa County, Mid-Bay Bridge in Okaloosa County, and Alligator Alley in Collier and Broward Counties.