Sunday (Day #7) was mostly a day of church, fellowship, thankfulness and recharging. There’s still so much to be done. We were also able to get 5 new generators delivered to a few homes in inland Lee and Collier counties along with five window AC units. (Yea, Home Depot.) We also found a great auto-shop allowing us to use a bay, lift and tools to put some much needed maintenance time into our two primary high access trucks which have taken a serious pounding for a week.
♦ Flooded roads remain an issue. ♦ The hurricane curfew has been lifted. ♦ Schools remain closed.
♦ The primary power issues are in Monroe county (FL Keys), Collier county (Naples, Marco Island), and Lee county (Lehigh, Fort Myers) areas. –SEE HERE– Obviously the recovery efforts in Monroe county are going to be months long, if not years. In Southwest Florida (Collier, Lee) hopefully the power can be returned to the most seriously affected within two weeks.
Lehigh Acres (eastern Lee County) and Golden Gate (eastern Collier county, Naples) are where most of the blue-collar working class live. Unfortunately those areas also got the worst part of the storm. The inland power infrastructure was seriously damaged by the eye-wall winds of Hurricane Irma. That’s where we’ve been focusing on trying to do what we can. These folks have to keep working regardless of how much damage and chaos personally surrounds them.
When you see stats on power accounts, remember each account is roughly 3+ people (household). 70k accounts in Collier county = 200+ thousand people. 66k accounts in Lee county equals about the same. Utility crews from all over are working diligently to get the grid back in functioning condition, unfortunately the stress of a week without power is leading to frustration, frayed nerves and some reports of poor personal conduct.
“The work in the hard-hit areas of Lehigh Acres to fix the main circuit feeders so that trucks can begin to work in the neighborhoods has been ongoing and in many parts requires rebuilding and not just repairing. Damage to the system serving individual neighborhoods is extensive and will take time also. Most customers can expect to have power restored by September 22. There will be some locations that will need even more extensive repairs and could take longer.
“Crews also continued to work in the vast area of Immokalee with a goal of bringing more and more of the businesses back online so they can assist customers there, many of who lost everything. Most customers can expect to have power restored by September 22.
“Most customers in other areas less-impacted, such as Everglades City, Cape Coral, Marco Island, Pine Island, Sanibel/Captiva, North Fort Myers, and surrounding areas will have power restored by the evening of September 19.” (local link)
♦ Fuel is essentially back to normal in most areas outside the immediate eye-wall impact zone where electrical power is still unavailable. Thousands of people running on generators simply increases the demand for fuel. Port Everglades, Port Canaveral, Port of Jacksonville, and Port of Tampa are actively accepting fuel. The Florida Highway Patrol has troopers dedicated to escorting fuel resupply trucks as needed. Many of those inbound shipments head south into the impact zone.
From Governor Rick Scott:
- The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is encouraging individuals and families to be alert for false rumors, scams, identity theft, and fraud. For resources on how to protect yourself and your loves ones from disaster fraud, visit https://www.fema.gov/hurricane-irma-rumor-control or call the @FEMA Disaster Fraud Hotline at 866-720-5721.
- Residents who sustained losses in the declared counties can apply for assistance by registering online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov. Residents who suffered damages from the storm may register now, and if their county is later included in the declaration, the application will be processed automatically.
- Residents are also encouraged to download the FEMA App to begin the registration process. Simply click on Disaster Resources.
- If you do not have access to the internet, you may register by calling 1-800-621-3362 (FEMA) or 1-800-462-7585 (TTY); if you use 711 Relay or Video Relay Service call 1-800-621-3362.
- The toll-free telephone numbers will operate from 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. (local time) seven days a week until further notice.
- The first FEMA Disaster Recovery Center has opened in St. Augustine, and more will open in affected communities where survivors can apply for assistance and meet face-to-face with recovery specialists.
- FEMA’s Operation Blue Roof Program is now available to eligible homeowners impacted by Hurricane Irma. Operation Blue Roof provides a temporary covering of blue plastic sheeting to help reduce further damage to property until permanent repairs can be made. For more information, click HERE.
- Outreach teams from FEMA are canvassing Florida communities affected by Hurricane Irma. The teams are working in federally designated counties to help residents register for disaster assistance and to quickly identify and address immediate and emerging needs. The teams can also provide application updates and referrals to additional community resources for remaining needs. For more information, click HERE.
- In response to Hurricane Irma, Lyft is donating $100,000 to a “Relief Rides” program helping those in need get to/from hospitals and shelters after the hurricane, as well as partnering with Team Rubicon to help their volunteers. Call (754) 900-5949 to request a ride. If you are associated with a hospital, shelter, or local government, please email firstname.lastname@example.org so that Lyft can get you access to a pre-funded account to help those in need. Click here for information on how partners can use Lyft’s Concierge Service to request rides for those in need and who may not have access to a smartphone.
- Uber is donating $400,000 of rides, food and relief to families and communities affected as well as first responders. Uber is helping provide free rides across the state to Floridians in need. Call the toll-free number 844-800-9425 to request a ride. Local governments, nonprofits, and organizations with an immediate need can email IrmaRelief@uber.com.
- 15 AmeriCorps members with Volunteer Florida grantee City of Orlando deployed to the Orange County EOC to assist 350 students in need
- 14 AmeriCorps member with Volunteer Florida grantee Polk Reads deployed to the Polk County Volunteer Reception Center to serve Floridians in Central Florida
- In Central Florida, AmeriCorps members from the Heart of Florida United Way volunteered at the 211 Crisis Hotline, answering over 300 calls
- Volunteer Florida Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) of the Villages have served over 300 people in two shelters. In conjunction with the Villages Public Safety Department, 26 CERT members checked on more than 356 homes on 15 streets.
- In Collier County, CERT teams walked door to door and passed out water and tarps and did wellness checks. They are also assisting with POD (Point of Distribution) in an effort to get essentials items into the community.
- In what is the largest response in the history of the Florida Division, the Salvation Army currently has field kitchens located in Ft. Myers, Naples, Miami, northeast Florida, Sebring and Marathon with the capacity to produce 10,000-20,000 meals each. Additionally, 61 Mobile Canteens with the capacity to prepare 1,500 meals a day are currently serving hot meals across the state.
- To date, The Salvation Army Florida Division has prepared and distributed 482,000 meals, drinks, and snacks, and have made 5,000 emotional and spiritual comfort contacts with the support of more than 8,000 volunteer hours.
- To date, more than 34,392 meals have been delivered through the Red Cross.
- 160 Red Cross Emergency Response Vehicles are surveying impacted areas in the Keys distributing food to community members. (read more)