Update on Leon County’s Recovery Activities
Following Hurricane Michael
Following is an update on Hurricane Michael response and recover activities as of Thursday, October 11.
All general population risk shelters have been consolidated to a single location at Sail High School. 30 citizens were present at Sail as of the latest count, but we expect that number to grow as people return to the shelter later this evening. Leon County continues working to demobilize risk shelter operations and transition remaining shelterees into longer-term host shelters as soon as power is restored to host shelter locations identified by the Red Cross. Our partners are providing meals and water to shelterees at Sail in the meantime. In addition, approximately 100 citizens remain in the special needs shelter at Florida High School, which is also still taking in shelterees from other affected areas. The special needs shelter will remain open until all shelterees can safely be returned home or to another care facility. Several teams were mobilized today to conduct preliminary damage assessments at special needs shelterees’ homes, which will help to determine if it is safe for them to return home from the special needs shelter.
Leon County EMS has responded to all calls for service and continues to operate with elevated staffing through at least tomorrow with call volume above normal levels. EMS is staffing 5 extra units during today’s shift, 4 extra units tonight, and 3 extra units tomorrow. EMS staff is also stationed at the special needs shelter to assist with any medical needs that may arise.
As we expected, there are extensive downed trees blocking virtually all of our major roadways in the County. Public Works remains fully activated with 130 personnel working in Alpha and Bravo shifts to reopen blocked roads as late as it is safe to do so. Leon County Public Works has 15 crews in the field, supplemented by 10 additional contracted crews who arrived this morning. Additional contracted crews are arriving tomorrow to assist with cut and toss operations. At this time, all major roads in the County are passable, with the exception of Miccosukee Road which is 85% clear. Crews are still working to clear a portion of Miccosukee Road within City limits. Leon County Sheriff’s Office deputies are also equipped with chainsaws and continue to assist with clearing blocked roads. We continue to update the Emergency Information Portal (www.LeonCountyFL.gov/ei) with the most up to date information about the status of road closures and reopenings.
We have activated our primary debris collection contractor who will be arriving tomorrow with resources to begin collecting residential debris, which we anticipate beginning on Saturday, October 13. We will provide updates with information regarding debris collection zones and schedules at a later date.
Power Restoration (as of 5 p.m.):
Immediately following the storm, City of Tallahassee Utilities and Talquin Electric both reported outages to more than 90% of their customers in Leon County. Following are the latest reports of outages at this time:
• City of Tallahassee: 106,269 outages (86% out)
• Talquin Electric: 22,400 outages (91% out)
• Duke Energy: 65 outages (100% out)
The City is reporting that 60% of its electric transmission system, 6 substations, and 117 of its 160 circuits are out of service. However, repairs to all of these components are underway and will occur simultaneously with extensive mutual aid support. Both hospitals, FSU, and FAMU are in service, and the City is actively working to restore power along its priority circuits in accordance with its restoration protocol. 65% of all traffic signals are in normal operation at this time, and the City continues to deploy portable generators to bring signals back online until primary power is restored.
Points of Distribution:
Through the Emergency Operations Center, we have put in mission requests with the State and will be receiving Florida National Guard resources to set up points of distribution, which will be extensive. Each site will have abundant water, Meal-Ready-to-Eat (MREs), and tarps and will be capable of serving 10,000 citizens per day. County staff will also be supplementing the Florida National Guard in staging and staffing points of distribution. We will also be opening 10 of these points of distribution tomorrow morning throughout the County as follows: The following 6 locations will be staffed and supplied by National Guard and will open by mid-day tomorrow:
• Ft. Braden Community Center – 16387 Blountstown Highway
• Woodville Park – 1492 J. Lewis Hall Sr. Lane
• Apalachee Regional Park – 7550 Apalachee Parkway
• Fire Station #4 – 2899 West Pensacola Street • Fire Station #1 – 327 North Adams Street
• Fire Station #2 – 2805 Sharer Road
In addition, the County and City will be staffing 4 other points of distribution for bottled water only to ensure broad geographic distribution and accessibility. The following County and City operated sites will open from 9 AM to 5 PM:
• Fred George Park – 4830 Fred George Road
• Miccosukee (Concord School) – 15011 Cromartie Road
• Fire Station #3 – 3005 South Monroe Street
• Fire Station #15 – 1445 Bannerman
The County will be opening the Main Library as a comfort station tomorrow from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. The comfort station will provide air conditioning, snacks, water, a place to charge mobile devices, and computer access. We will establish a Community Recovery Center at the comfort station for local community partners to assist citizens through the recovery process, and a representative from 2-1-1 Big Bend will also be on site to assist citizens in person. We are welcoming all visitors to the comfort station regardless of whether they have a library card or are a Leon County resident.
We will also be mobilizing 20 County/City teams starting tomorrow morning to begin the Individual Damage Assessment process for FEMA reimbursement purposes. These teams will begin by inspecting those areas known from field reports to be most impacted by Michael. We have posted a reporting tool on the EIP for citizens to self-report damage to their properties and our public information efforts are directing citizens to this resource. To self-report, visit: http://tlcgis.maps.arcgis.com/apps/GeoForm/index.html?appid=6f338e584b9349fb889e77c8fe10b0b3
We have developed a reporting tool, posted to the Office of Economic Vitality website and linked through from our EIP, for citizens to view and report the status of retail suppliers and gas stations throughout the County. At this time, several grocery and big box stores have reopened as well as gas stations, restaurants, and smaller retail stores. To view this report, visit: http://oevforbusiness.org/BusinessStatus/.
At this time, we are aware that at least two cell towers in the county that are currently non-functional. Cellular providers are working to restore service to areas affected by outages, which are most extensive in the northeast portion of the county. Our staff in the EOC continues to actively coordinate with the State EOC as well as our telecommunications and mobile providers to learn more about the extent of the outages, find any available solutions to help restore temporary service, and determine providers’ anticipated timelines for full service restoration.
Facilities staff conducted checks of all County facilities today and have reported no damage. Most County facilities remain without power at this time. Accordingly, County offices will remain closed tomorrow and will re-open on Monday, October 15 with the exception of the Main Library which will remain open as a comfort station and the branch libraries which will re-open during normal hours beginning on Saturday (subject to power restoration).
We will be opening all Rural Waste Service Centers (RWSC) and the Solid Waste Management Facility (SWMF) free of charge for all Leon County citizens to clear their yards and neighborhoods of storm debris, beginning Saturday, October 13 through next Sunday, October 21 during normal business hours. Commercial and residential service in Tallahassee and unincorporated Leon County is scheduled to resume on Friday, October 12. Customers with garbage collection scheduled for Wednesday should expect collection tomorrow instead.
To help the community rebuild after Hurricane Michael, Leon County will waive building permit fees for storm-related repairs, as well as permit fees to remove storm-damaged trees, as long as the work was completed by either the homeowner or a licensed contractor.
At this time, our EOC remains fully activated around the clock to ensure the coordinated completion of our immediate response and recovery operations. Our personnel both in the EOC and in the field are fully committed and dedicated to ensuring a complete and thorough response.
Link to original article