Florida Division of Emergency Management Celebrates Accomplishments since January 8
Today, Governor Ron DeSantis highlighted bold steps that the Florida Division of Emergency Management (FDEM) has taken in 2019 to help Floridians recover from hurricanes while preparing for future storms.
"From day one, we committed to making hurricane recovery a top priority in 2019, and we've delivered," said Governor Ron DeSantis. "Through hard work, determination, and support from President Trump, we’ve been able to provide crucial relief to Northwest Florida and impacted communities statewide. I'm proud of what we've been able to accomplish this year, and I look forward to continuing to help Florida recover, while making sure we are prepared for future disasters."
"I am proud of the work we have accomplished since January 8 to put mental health at the front and center of emergency management," said First Lady Casey DeSantis. "This year we worked with Director Moskowitz to announce Florida’s first Mental Health Coordinator, becoming one of the first such positions in the country to focus solely on helping communities obtain critical mental health services following a disaster. I look forward to our continued work together as we actively develop and implement various mental health services across the state."
“The Division has had a year for the record books,” said FDEM Director Jared Moskowitz. “By removing red tape, we’ve been able to distribute the most hurricane recovery funding in the Division’s history, and we’ve done that while saving taxpayer dollars and focusing resources on preparing for future storms. Under Governor DeSantis’ leadership, I’m confident the foundation we’ve built in 2019 will serve as the cornerstone of a more resilient future.”
On Governor DeSantis’ first full day in office, he visited Mexico Beach and made a commitment to helping the Panhandle recover from Hurricane Michael, and since then the agency has remained focus on finding ways to support recovering communities and helping distribute funding as quickly as possible. This includes:
FDEM awarding more than $1.3 billion for hurricane recovery since January 8:
- In January, FDEM announced that, under the leadership of Governor DeSantis, the Division was implementing an expedited process to accelerate funding for communities impacted by Hurricane Michael. The process was able to distribute funds to communities more quickly by providing 50 percent of estimated projects costs upfront and requiring less initial review.
- This expedited process was also put in place alongside new procedures to accelerate Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) reimbursements to communities impacted by hurricanes Irma, Matthew and Hermine. The new process allows communities to receive funding once the project is 50 percent validated, while the Division continues to work with applicants to provide funding as projects continue to be validated.
- In October, FDEM announced that more than $1 billion was awarded for hurricane recovery since January 8. This milestone came as a direct result of major policy and procedure changes at FDEM to allow funding to be distributed as fast as possible. Awarded funding in 2019 includes $875 million for Hurricane Irma, $454 million for Hurricane Michael and more than $60 million for Hurricanes Hermine and Matthew. More information can be found here.
President Trump granting 45 days of 100 percent federal cost-share for Hurricane Michael debris removal and emergency protective measures:
- In March, Governor DeSantis announced that President Trump granted 45 days of 100 percent federal cost share for Hurricane Michael debris removal and emergency protective measures. This historic support for Florida came at the request of Governor DeSantis in a meeting with President Trump in Washington, D.C. where he committed this additional FEMA funding, a grant which can only be authorized by the President of the United States.
- Previously, Florida was to receive 100 percent reimbursement for the first five days of debris pickup and hurricane relief efforts. The additional 40 days added by President Trump at the request of Governor DeSantis will provide much needed support to the counties directly impacted by Hurricane Michael. More information can be found here.
President Trump approving a 90-percent cost share for the rest of Hurricane Michael:
- In April, Governor DeSantis requested, and received, an increase in the federal cost share from 75 percent to 90 percent for the remainder of Hurricane Michael recovery. This followed the announcement by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration that Hurricane Michael was upgraded to a Category 5 Hurricane. More information can be found here.
FDEM hiring the first Mental Health Response and Recovery Coordinator in Florida history:
- In October, FDEM hired Florida’s first Mental Health Response and Recovery Coordinator to be deployed to Bay County to assist with coordinating mental health services for those impacted by Hurricane Michael.
- First Lady Casey DeSantis announced this position as part of the Hope for Healing Florida campaign, which strives to combine the resources and efforts of the public and private sectors to better serve Floridians struggling with mental health and substance abuse. More about the Mental Health Coordinator can be found here.
FDEM announcing $25 million is available through Hurricane Michael State Recovery Grant Program:
- In September, FDEM announced that $25 million was available to communities impacted by Hurricane Michael through the Hurricane Michael State Recovery Grant Program. This grant funding can be used for projects that support hurricane repair and recovery related to Hurricane Michael. More information can be found here.
- FDEM has awarded the first $1.1 million to the City of Mexico Beach to support the fire department and law enforcement operations as the city recovers from Hurricane Michael. More information about this award can be found here.
- On December 20, Governor DeSantis announced more than $20 million in awards for counties recovering from Hurricane Michael through the Hurricane Michael State Recovery Grant Program. More information can be found here.
FDEM leading response and preparedness efforts for Hurricane Dorian:
- FDEM led response and preparedness efforts for Hurricane Dorian. Hurricane Dorian was a Category 5 storm that was projected to impact Florida’s East Coast. Leading up to the storm, FDEM worked alongside other state agencies and local governments to prepare for all possible scenarios. Learn more about FDEM and state efforts during Hurricane Dorian.
- Immediately after the storm made landfall in the Bahamas, Governor DeSantis announced that FDEM and Florida Power and Light collectively donated 590,000 bottles of water to the Bahamas for Hurricane Dorian relief. More information can be found here.
- Following Hurricane Dorian, FDEM secured a major disaster declaration from FEMA to reimburse counties for debris removal and emergency protective measures in response to Hurricane Dorian. FEMA’s disaster declaration can be found here.
Other notable accomplishments include:
- FDEM providing more than $200 million for citrus growers impacted by Hurricane Irma through the Citrus Recovery Block Grant. The funding that has been distributed is more than half of the federal allocation. More information can be found here.
- Governor DeSantis announcing that the U.S. Department of Agriculture awarded $380 million in grant funding for Florida’s timber industry following the impact of Hurricane Michael. The grant is administered by FDEM in conjunction with the Executive Office of the Governor. More information can be found here.
- Governor DeSantis announcing that Florida has approved more than $100 million in mitigation grants for Hurricane Irma through FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program. More information can be found here.
- FDEM coordinating additional housing support for residents who lost their homes in Hurricane Michael by securing more than 100 FEMA travel trailers and donating them to impacted counties. More information can be found here.
- Governor DeSantis announcing that the threshold was met to increase the federal cost share for Hurricane Irma to 90 percent. Meeting this threshold was accelerated by changes to policies and procedures at FDEM to speed-up hurricane recovery awards. More information can be found here.
- Governor DeSantis announcing that FDEM awarded $150.9 million to Bay County and $20 million to Mexico Beach to help the communities recover from the impact of Hurricane Michael. These funds reimbursed Mexico Beach for ongoing debris removal efforts and Bay County for the removal of wet and vegetative debris. More information can be found here.
- FDEM issuing the first public assistance award to a House of Worship in Florida’s history. The funding was to reimburse the center for certain costs of hurricane clean-up and recovery, including staff who provided meals for emergency workers, emergency roof repairs and debris removal. More information can be found here.
- Governor DeSantis announcing FDEM deployed a team of emergency management personnel to Oklahoma to assist with catastrophic flooding. The team assisted Muskogee County and the Cherokee Nation. More information can be found here.
- In 2019, FDEM supporting 638 FEMA and DHS Courses throughout Florida, training nearly 7,000 emergency management, first responder and volunteer personnel.
- FDEM conducting the 2019 Statewide Hurricane exercise, incorporating 18 State Agencies, Volunteer, Private Sector and 67 county Emergency Management Agencies.