WASHINGTON -- FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell urges anyone in the path of Hurricane Ian to heed the warning of local officials as this storm begins to make landfall. Ian is predicted to bring life-threatening storm surge and widespread flooding. Criswell said FEMA established a search and rescue coordination group in Miami that includes Urban Search and Rescue teams, Coast Guard, Department of Defense, Department of the Interior and local Florida rescue teams. These teams are prepared to coordinate search and rescue efforts by sea, air and land.
On Tuesday, Administrator Criswell briefed President Biden about federal response efforts. Together, President Biden and Administrator Criswell called mayors in Florida to check on evacuations and their local preparations ahead of Ian. President Biden also called Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis Tuesday to discuss state and federal coordination efforts ahead of landfall.
The National Hurricane Center issued hurricane and tropical storm warnings for much of Florida’s coastline. Hurricane Ian is expected to cause life-threatening storm surge, catastrophic winds and flooding in the Florida peninsula. Catastrophic storm surge inundation is expected somewhere along the southwest Florida coastline from Englewood to Bonita Beach, including Charlotte Harbor.
Florida officials issued mandatory and voluntary evacuation orders in 18 counties ahead of Ian. If you are not in an evacuation zone, consider sheltering in place but know your home and its ability to withstand strong winds.
Safety Considerations for Residents
- Manufactured homes are extremely vulnerable. If you live in a manufactured home, determine where you will go before the storm hits, as these types of structures may not withstand hurricane wind or surge damage.
- Download the FEMA App. Use this free app to receive local weather alerts and warnings.
- Prepare for power outages. Take an inventory of the items you need that rely on electricity. Plan for batteries and other alternative power sources to meet your needs when the power goes out. Have enough nonperishable food and water.
State, Federal Actions
- On Saturday, President Joseph R. Biden approved Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ request for an emergency declaration. The declaration authorizes FEMA to support the state’s response efforts ahead of Ian. More than 5,000 Florida National Guard members from Florida and Tennessee are postured to support the response.
- FEMA is prepositioning supplies and personnel to strategic locations in Georgia, Florida and Alabama. This will allow us to get help where it needs to be as soon as possible. This includes commodities at Maxwell Airforce Base in Alabama to include water, meals, infant/toddler kits, cots and other emergency supplies.
- FEMA has 3.7 million meals and 3.5 million liters of water staged in Alabama. Florida officials prepared 360 trailers with more than two million meals and more than one million gallons of water for distribution to affected areas.
- The U.S. Coast Guard staged 17 helicopters, 14 fixed wing aircraft and 18 small boats for immediate search & rescue response with an additional 15 aircraft and 20 small boats on standby.
- There are more than 1,300 federal response workers on the ground in Florida to support emergency operations. Nearly 840 FEMA personnel are supporting the response from Florida, and our other offices and field locations. The agency has nearly 3,500 reservist personnel available to deploy to support. Additionally, more than 7,500 Surge Capacity Force members are rostered to deploy if needed. The agency is establishing a personnel mobilization center to expedite forward movement when needed.
- Incident Management Teams are at the State Emergency Operations Center in Tallahassee, in Miami and Atlanta. Mobile Emergency Response Support teams are also in Tallahassee and Atlanta to support any state coordination needs.
- Four Mobile Communications Operation Vehicles are staged at Maxwell Air Force Base with and additional unit in Orlando.
- Several hundred generators and pumps, in addition to debris removal equipment, have been staged for response and recovery efforts.
- A U.S. Army Corps of Engineers power restoration team is at Craig Field in Alabama ahead of the storm, additional personnel are en route to Broward County. FEMA also pre-staged 169 generators and 110,000 gallons of fuel and 18,000 pounds of propane.
- Approximately 30,000 power restoration mutual assistance individuals are prepositioned. Additional personnel are available to provide support post-landfall.
- FEMA activated a medical support contract for ambulances and paratransit seats. Federal and state resources have provided more than 300 ambulances for evacuations and response efforts.
- The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services declared a Public Health Emergency. They deployed a 38-person disaster medical assistance team to Miami, and two teams are deployed to Robins Air Force Base in Georgia. HHS also deployed health and medical task force teams and four pharmacists to Atlanta.
- The state of Florida has completed 124 onsite visits to nursing homes and assisted living facilities that were previously identified as out of compliance with generator requirements. All operating long-term care facilities have a generator on-site.
- FEMA and Department of Energy are conducting ongoing analysis of impacts due to the potential damage or loss of 58 fuel racks in the Tampa area along with broader energy system analysis across Florida and adjacent systems in Georgia.
Resources for evacuees and survivors
- Volunteer agencies are preparing to perform feeding operations including the American Red Cross, Florida Baptist, Salvation Army, Feeding Florida, Farm Share, Midwest Food Bank, Operation BBQ Relief, Mercy Chefs and World Central Kitchen. FEMA and its partners have capacity to serve tens of thousands of meals per day.
- The USDA Food and Nutrition Service has approved Florida’s request to issue October Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits on Sept. 28.
- More than 90 shelters are open. The American Red Cross is prepared to open 60 post-disaster which can accommodate 30,000 individuals. Additional shelter supplies are on hand, including cots & blankets, to provide to non-Red Cross shelters to support an additional 30,000 people.
- For a list of open general and special needs shelters in the state of Florida, visit Shelter Information. Residents may also find assistance by calling 800-342-3557.The state of Florida is deploying several hundred shelter support staff to address staffing needs.
- Download the FEMA App for real-time weather alerts from the National Weather Service and directions to open shelters. The app also includes a customizable checklist of emergency supplies and disaster survival tips.