9/3 Hurricane Dorian Guidance from Commissioner Nikki Fried and FDACS

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Sep 3, 2019

Tallahassee, Fla. — Today, Commissioner Nicole “Nikki” Fried and the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) issued updated guidance as Hurricane Dorian approaches Florida. See the latest  department updates and information on Hurricane Dorian.

“Hurricane Dorian remains an extremely dangerous threat to much of our east coast as it moves slowly northward, with more than 1 million people under evacuation orders,” said Commissioner Nikki Fried. “The next 12 hours will be critical —now is not the time for ‘hurricane fatigue.’ Floridians need to pay close attention, heed all orders and warnings from emergency personnel, and ensure their plans are finalized. Our personnel and equipment are in place to assist in the storm’s aftermath, and our 1-800-HELP-FLA hotline is available to all consumers.”

State Forest Closures: In addition to the 13 previously closed Florida State Forests and 60 previously closed State Forest campgrounds, the Florida Forest Service has ordered closed the following state forests until further notice, effective Monday, September 2 at 2 p.m. EST:

  • Waccasassa Forestry Center: Carl Duval Moore State Forest, Etoniah Creek State Forest, Welaka State Forest
  • Withlacoochee Forestry Center: Seminole State Forest

Food/Water/Ice (ESF-11): More than 50 infant/toddler kits with diapers, wipes, and formula for those age 0-5 have been positioned at a Tampa-area staging location for delivery to disaster-impacted locations. SEOC staff continues to coordinate the available inventory of up to 1.2 million gallons of water, 1.7 million meals, and 730,000 pounds of ice.

Animal Protection (ESF-17): 40 pet-friendly shelters have been opened across the state in Brevard, Glades, Hendry, Martin, Orange, Okeechobee, Palm Beach, and St. Lucie Counties, with additional pet-friendly shelters being mobilized in Flagler, Indian River, Lake, Seminole, St. Johns, Sumter, and Volusia Counties. See astatewide map of pet-friendly shelters. In addition, the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine is working with pet-friendly shelters to coordinate assistance. Continuing to work eight SEOC missions for pet sheltering needs in seven counties.

Florida Forest Service: Operations consist of supporting 21 Urban Search and Rescue teams, seven strike teams of fire rescue engines, seven strike teams of ambulances, and multiple swift-water rescue teams and HAZMAT teams, coordinating in conjunction with the FEMA Incident Support Team. View operational photos.

Office of Agricultural Law Enforcement: OALE officers continue to support Nassau County evacuations and traffic control details. Personnel also remains staged at the Orange County Convention Center, assigned to force protection details and base camp operations. Operational photos can be viewed here as well as here.

USDA Office Closures: USDA Service Centers will be closed today, September 3, in the following counties: Glades, Lake, Okeechobee, Osceola, Palm Beach, Polk, Putnam, St. Lucie, and Volusia. Agricultural producers requiring USDA services should check the Service Center locator to determine the status of local offices.

***Status of Shelters*** 

The Florida Division of Emergency Management has indicated that 118 shelters are currently open throughout the state, including 89 general population shelters and 27 special needs shelters, with a current sheltered population of 10,295 people. See a full list of open shelters.

***Updates from 9/1 may be found below***

State Office Closures: Commissioner Fried has ordered closed Department offices and buildings until further notice in the following counties: Brevard, Citrus, Clay, DeSoto, Duval, Flagler, Glades, Hardee, Hendry, Hernando, Highlands, Hillsborough, Indian River, Lake, Levy, Martin, Nassau, Okeechobee, Orange, Osceola, Palm Beach, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk, Putnam, Seminole, St. Johns, St. Lucie, and Volusia.

State Forest Closures: In addition to the previously listed Florida State Forests, the Florida Forest Service has ordered closed the following state forests until further notice, effective Sunday, September 1 at 8:00 PM EST:

Jacksonville District: Belmore State Forest, Cary State Forest, Four Creeks State Forest, Jennings State Forest, Ralph E. Simmons State Forest

Bunnell District: Deep Creek State Forest, Lake George State Forest, Matanzas State Forest, Tiger Bay State Forest, Watson Island State Forest

Orlando District: Charles H. Bronson State Forest, Holopaw State Forest, Little Big Econ State Forest

Food/Water/Ice (ESF-11): In anticipation of higher demand, the Division of Food, Nutrition, and Wellness has requested from FEMA additional supplies to support 1,000 more infants and toddlers ages 0-5, as well as 300 cases of infant formula, 700 cases of infant diapers, and 200 cases of disposable adult undergarments.

Animal Protection (ESF-17): The Division of Animal Industry is deploying its Incident Management Team to Volusia County, and has established an Incident Command Post, located at the Volusia County UF/IFAS facility, and Donation Staging Area, located at the Volusia County Fair Grounds. The State Agriculture Response Team and State Animal Response Coalition are continuing work to transport animals and pets in 15 counties, and are supporting pet-friendly shelters across the state.

Florida Forest Service: Type 1 Incident Management Team (Red Team) with 54 personnel has deployed to the Orlando area to support search and rescue operations. Additional Incident Management Teams are preparing to deploy if needed.

Office of Agricultural Law Enforcement: In addition to the commitment of 31 officers to deploy with Urban Search and Rescue Task Forces, OALE is projecting deployment of 8 officers and 1 supervisor to assist with evacuations in Nassau County.

***Status of Shelters*** 

The Florida Division of Emergency Management has indicated that 32 shelters are currently open throughout the state, serving general and special needs populations, in the following counties: Broward, Hendry, Martin, Okeechobee, Orange, Palm Beach, and St. Lucie. A full list of open shelters can be found here.

***Food Safety Information*** 

In advance of the storm, FDACS and the U.S. Department of Agriculture are offering the following information regarding food safety. Our Division of Food Safety Response Team is an active partner at the State Emergency Operations Center, and works with federal and state regulatory food partners to coordinate emergency response. Following a storm, the Food Safety Response Team deploys across the state, assessing the condition of food establishments in impacted areas, evaluating facilities for damage, food destruction, and ensuring improperly held food is not distributed. They are technical experts in food manufacturing, food inspection, environmental health and epidemiology, charged with ensuring that Florida’s food supply is safe following a disaster.

FDACS Division of Food Safety has more resources online, including:

Steps to follow in advance of losing power:

  • Keep appliance thermometers in both refrigerator and freezer to ensure temperatures remain food-safe during a power outage. Safe temperatures are 40°F or lower in the refrigerator, and 0°F or lower in the freezer.
  • Freeze water in one-quart plastic storage bags or small containers prior to a hurricane. These containers are small enough to fit around the food in the refrigerator and freezer to help keep food cold. Remember, water expands when it freezes – so don’t overfill the containers.
  • Freeze refrigerated items, such as leftovers, milk, and fresh meat and poultry that you may not need immediately  —this helps keep them at a safe temperature longer.
  • Know where to find dry ice or block ice.
  • Have coolers on hand to keep refrigerator food cold if the power will be out for more than four hours.
  • Group foods together in the freezer — this ‘igloo’ effect helps the food stay cold longer.
  • Keep seven days’ worth of ready-to-eat foods that do not require cooking or cooling. 

Steps to follow if the power goes out:

  • Keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible. A refrigerator will keep food cold for about four hours if the door is kept closed. A full freezer will hold its temperature for about 48 hours (24 hours if half-full).
  • Place meat and poultry to one side of the freezer or on a tray to prevent cross contamination of thawing juices.
  • Use dry or block ice to keep the refrigerator as cold as possible during an extended power outage. Fifty pounds of dry ice should keep a fully-stocked 18-cubic-feet freezer cold for two days. 

Steps to follow after a weather emergency:

  • Check the temperature inside your refrigerator and freezer. Discard any perishable food (such as meat, poultry, seafood, eggs, or leftovers) that has been above 40°F for two hours or more.
  • Check each item separately. Throw out any food that has an unusual odor, color or texture, or feels warm to the touch.
  • Check frozen food for ice crystals. Food in your freezer that partially or completely thawed may be safely refrozen if it still contains ice crystals or is 40°F or below.
  • Never taste a food to decide if it’s safe.
  • When in doubt, throw it out.

Food safety after a flood:

  • Do not eat any food that may have come into contact with flood water — this includes raw fruits and vegetables, cartons of milk, or eggs.
  • Discard any food that is not in a waterproof container, if there is any chance that it has come into contact with flood water. Food containers that are not waterproof include those packaged in plastic wrap or cardboard, or those with screw‐caps, snap lids, pull tops and crimped caps. Flood waters can enter into any of these containers and contaminate the food inside. Also, discard cardboard juice/milk/baby formula boxes and home-canned foods if they have come in contact with flood water, because they cannot be effectively cleaned and sanitized.
  • Inspect canned foods and discard any food in damaged cans. Can damage is shown by swelling, leakage, punctures, holes, fractures, extensive deep rusting, or crushing/denting severe enough to prevent normal stacking or opening with a manual, wheel‐type can opener. 

***Updates from August 30-31 may be found below***

Ahead of Hurricane Dorian’s expected impact to Florida, Commissioner Nicole “Nikki” Fried has issued a series of emergency orders and actions to provide critical assistance to Florida’s residents and industries. The emergency orders and actions include the following:

Emergency Order 2019-003, which suspends portions of the Motor Fuel Marketing Act that prohibits fuel retailers from selling gasoline below the price they paid for it, ensuring that fuel remains affordable to consumers throughout the storm period. Selling fuel below refiner cost is normally prohibited by Chapter 526, Florida Statutes.

Emergency Order 2019-001, which suspends portions of Chapter 493, Florida Statutes, and department rules, allowing out-of-state security personnel with less than one year of experience to work in Florida during the hurricane emergency response. This will increase availability of temporary security personnel needed to support rebuilding efforts following the storm.

Emergency Rule 5KER19-1, which establishes emergency rules for sanitizing dairy equipment for storage and transport of milk in response to the storm, without compromising public safety, allowing faster distribution of Grade A milk to consumers and preventing dairy farms from being forced to dump milk.

Emergency Rule 5BER19-2, which establishes emergency rules for damaged citrus greenhouses and nursery stock exposed to plant pests and diseases by the hurricane, which will limit the destruction of valuable nursery stock needed to replace hurricane-damaged trees.

Emergency Rule 5JER19-3, which allows winter blend gasoline to be sold in Florida, ensuring the adequate distribution of available fuel and stabilizing the fuel market, as certain ports are no longer receiving fuel deliveries due to the storm.

Yesterday’s updates on preparations may be found below:

August 30 Preparations for Hurricane Dorian

The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and Commissioner Nicole “Nikki” Fried continue to make preparations for Hurricane Dorian. The Department’s broad responsibilities during disaster response efforts range from securing ice, water, and emergency food supplies, to assisting with search and rescue missions, to providing fuel for our first responders and emergency personnel.

In addition to the below preparations, Commissioner Fried has ordered closed Department buildings in Palm Beach, Martin, Okeechobee, and DeSoto Counties as of 1 PM EST today until further notice. Commissioner Fried has also recommended to the Florida Department of Transportation that size and weight restrictions be waived for all shipments of citrus crops, timber, livestock, sugarcane, peanuts, and avocados.

“Our top priority is protecting the lives and property of Floridians, while looking out for consumers and helping safeguard our $132 billion agriculture industry,” said Commissioner Nikki Fried. “We’re preparing for the worst with Hurricane Dorian, and we need people across the state to do the same. Take this storm seriously. Finalize your plan. Finish getting supplies. Identify your evacuation route. And listen to warnings from all state and local officials and emergency personnel.”

To prepare for Hurricane Dorian, the Department is undertaking the following:

Division of Consumer Services

  • Extended hours for the 1-800-HELP-FLA helpline from 7 AM to 7 PM EST (up from 9 AM to 5 PM), which may be further extended
  • Dispatched inspectors to work with retail gas stations on monitoring fuel supply issues and steps to take pre-storm, such as checking tank seals to prevent water intrusion
  • NOTE: Consumers are reminded to never dispense fuel into unsafe, unapproved containers, such as this

Florida Forest Service

  • Closed over 60 Florida State Forest campgrounds, effective today at 1 p.m. through Thursday, September 5 at 11:59 p.m., the list of which can be found here
  • Activated incident management team mobilizing to support search and rescue operations
  • Securing equipment to assist with the clearing of debris

Division of Food, Nutrition and Wellness

  • Current supplies include up to 1.2 million gallons of water on 100 trucks, 1.7 million meals (including 1.4 million shelf-stable meals and 340,000 USDA meals), and over 730,000 pounds of ice
  • Have requested from FEMA, in coordination with State Emergency Response Team Logistics, 9 million liters of bottled water and 6,560,000 shelf-stable meals
  • Ensuring shelters have adequate supplies for over 2,000 infants and toddlers, such as diapers, wipes, and formula
  • Coordinating with food vendor partners to establish inventory on-hand and ship times

Division of Animal Industry

  • Activated Incident Management Team
  • Suspended requirements for intrastate animal movements, so livestock and animals can be more easily evacuated
  • Secured waiver agreements with Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, Tennessee, North Carolina, and South Carolina to accept Florida animals being evacuated 
  • Supporting county officials in establishing pet-friendly shelters
  • Providing citizens with resources on pet and livestock hurricane preparedness and evacuation planning

Division of Energy

  • Making available fuel for tankers, fueling trucks, and fuel depots to provide fuel for first responders, emergency personnel, and utility crews
  • Postponed the 2019 Florida Energy & Climate Summit, which was to be heldSeptember 4-6 in Tampa

Office of Agricultural Law Enforcement

  • Activated Incident Management Team
  • Preparing to deploy nearly 40 personnel to Urban Search and Rescue Task Forces for 7 days
  • Preparing to deploy logistical support trailers, fuel and water tanks, and UTVs

During an emergency, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services provides necessary food and water to affected areas, helps protect animals, livestock, and pets, and coordinates with agricultural producers to protect crops. The Florida Forest Service is responsible for incident management and assists emergency responders in clearing debris and distributing supplies. Additionally, the Office of Agricultural Law Enforcement provides law enforcement services to police departments and county sheriff’s offices as necessary.

For more information and tips on hurricane preparedness, visitFloridaDisaster.org.

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