Today, exactly one month after Hurricane Ian’s devastating Category 4 landfall, the Florida Division of Emergency Management (FDEM) is highlighting a record-breaking recovery effort to support impacted families and businesses.
“Under Governor DeSantis’ leadership, the Division has been able to cut through red tape and implement new, innovative processes to make sure that communities have the resources they need to start their recovery,” said FDEM Director Kevin Guthrie. “Hurricane Ian was an unprecedented storm, but thanks to the tremendous effort from the State Emergency Response Team, we are moving at a record pace to support impacted residents in their time of need.”
Hurricane Ian made landfall in Cayo Costa on the afternoon of September 28 as the fourth-largest storm to hit Florida. In just 30 days, the State of Florida, in coordination with local, federal and private sector partners, has undertaken the largest recovery mission in Florida’s recent history.
Resources and personnel began moving into place on September 23, five days before landfall, when Hurricane Ian was still Tropical Depression 9. The state also started hosting daily calls with all 67 county emergency management offices to address unmet needs and coordinate protective actions ahead of storm impacts.
A pre-landfall emergency declaration was granted by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) on September 24, and the State Emergency Operations Center activated to a Level One on September 26. On September 29, a Major Disaster Declaration for Hurricane Ian was approved by the President.
On September 28, First Lady Casey DeSantis activated the Florida Disaster Fund to support Florida’s communities impacted by Hurricane Ian. To date, the Florida Disaster Fund has raised more than $50 million. To contribute, visit FloridaDisasterFund.org or text DISASTER to 20222.
As recovery efforts continue, the Division highlights expedited and innovative actions taken to help impacted communities get back on their feet:
- Prior to Hurricane Ian’s landfall, FDEM positioned five teams along the projected path of the storm alongside FEMA partners to immediately begin conducting rapid damage assessments after Hurricane Ian in impacted areas. These teams toured counties prior to landfall to better assist with determining the level of impact after Hurricane Ian.
- More than 42,000 linemen began restoring power to the nearly 2.7 million accounts without power in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Ian.
- On October 4, the first Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) opened in Lee County. Disaster Recovery Centers are collocated with more than 10 agencies to provide a one-stop shop for individuals or businesses that need help recovering from the storm. Today, there are 21 DRCs open across impacted counties. To find an open DRC near you, visit FloridaDisaster.org/Info.
- Mobile, public fueling stations opened in underserved communities to provide fuel for vehicles and gas cans for generators to impacted residents. Additional fuel depots were available throughout Central and Southwest Florida to ensure first responders had the fuel they needed to conduct search and rescue operations.
- At the direction of Governor DeSantis, FDEM has developed a first-ever state-led housing mission to supplement FEMA direct temporary housing efforts. FDEM is working to provide travel trailers and other temporary housing solutions to survivors with significant housing needs who are not yet eligible for FEMA’s direct housing program. Individuals who have already applied for FEMA Individual Assistance do not need to reapply for the Direct Temporary Housing program but should update their applications to reflect current housing needs.
- The State of Florida and FEMA have implemented waivers for certain requirements of debris removal on private and commercial properties, including damaged slabs on private property.
- FDEM is utilizing satellite imagery and artificial intelligence to expedite damage assessments.
- FDEM has opened a call center and website for Floridians to apply for debris removal assistance, including displaced vehicles, vessels or other titled property. Homeowners, business owners, and titled property owners can visit IanDebrisCleanup.com or call (850) 961-2002 for more information.
- At the request of Governor DeSantis, FDEM worked with federal partners to secure an additional 30 days of 100% federal cost share for Public Assistance Category A (debris removal) and Category B (emergency protective measures) for Hurricane Ian recovery efforts. More information can be found here.
- More than 13,700 Blue Roofs have been installed in Charlotte, Collier, DeSoto, Lee and Sarasota counties by the US Army Corps of Engineers. Homeowners can sign up for this free service through Tuesday, November 1. For more information, visit BlueRoof.us or call 1-888-ROOF-BLU.
- More than 500 Requests for Public Assistance (RPAs) have been submitted by counties, cities, nonprofits, houses of worship and other eligible entities. The deadline for RPAs has been extended to Friday, December 2.
The Division continues to prioritize the needs of communities and amend the Major Disaster Declaration for Hurricane Ian. To date, 10 amendments have been approved expanding Public Assistance and Individual Assistance eligibility in the state.
- Individual Assistance is approved for Brevard, Charlotte, Collier, DeSoto, Flagler, Glades, Hardee, Hendry, Highlands, Hillsborough, Lake, Lee, Manatee, Monroe, Okeechobee, Orange, Osceola, Palm Beach, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk, Putnam, Sarasota, Seminole, St. Johns and Volusia Counties. Survivors can apply for FEMA Assistance by visiting DisasterAssistance.gov, calling 800-621-3362, using the FEMA Mobile App, or visiting a Disaster Recovery Center. Individuals are encouraged to continuously update their applications as their situations change so that FEMA may consider their eligibility for additional assistance.
- Public Assistance Category A (Debris) is approved for Brevard, Charlotte, Collier, DeSoto, Duval, Flagler, Glades, Hardee, Hendry, Highlands, Hillsborough, Indian River, Lake, Lee, Manatee, Monroe, Okeechobee, Orange, Osceola, Pinellas, Polk, Putnam, Sarasota, Seminole, St. Johns, Sumter, and Volusia counties.
- Public Assistance Category B (Emergency Protective Measures, including direct federal assistance) is approved for all 67 Counties, the Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida and the Seminole Tribe of Florida.
- Public Assistance Permanent Work (Categories C-G) is approved for Brevard, Charlotte, Collier, DeSoto, Duval, Flagler, Glades, Hardee, Hendry, Highlands, Hillsborough, Indian River, Lake, Lee, Manatee, Monroe, Okeechobee, Orange, Osceola, Pinellas, Polk, Putnam, Sarasota, Seminole, St. Johns, Sumter, and Volusia Counties.
- The Hazard Mitigation Grant Program is available to all municipalities in the State of Florida.