Friday, May 20, 2011


The Florida Division of Emergency Management, along with the Governor’s Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service (Volunteer Florida) and Florida’s Disaster Fund (Florida’s Foundation) are encouraging Floridians to assist the Southeastern and Central United States that were impacted by tornadoes late last month and are still facing devastating damage from flooding. However, these agencies encourage Floridians to donate wisely to ensure donations are helpful and effective.

“Floridians know, based on our own history of hurricanes and other disasters, that the coordination of volunteers and donations is essential to recovery,” said Bryan W. Koon, director of the Florida Division of Emergency Management.

“I have spoken to our counterparts in these states and they are working around the clock to coordinate volunteers and donations,” said Volunteer Florida CEO Wendy Spencer. “Floridians want to do their part to help out, and by donating cash or sending donations through an experienced relief organization they can be sure their assistance is meeting the most critical needs.”

Volunteer Florida, one of Florida’s lead agencies responsible for the coordination of donations and engagement of volunteers in disaster relief, and Florida’s Disaster Fund offer the following tips on how to donate wisely to support the Southeastern and Central states:

Financial Contributions are Critical and Effective
Cash donations help to avoid the labor and expense of sorting, packaging, transporting and distributing donated goods, and voluntary relief agencies can use cash to meet disaster survivors’ specific needs more quickly.

Donate to an Experienced Disaster Relief Organization
Relief agencies prefer the versatility of cash donations; however, experienced disaster relief organizations frequently have the infrastructure in place to store and distribute donated goods. To prevent waste, donations of goods should be made only to agencies that have requested specific items.

Confirm Needs Before Collecting
Donors should be wary of anyone who claims that “everything is needed.” A community hit by disaster does not have the time, staffing or money to dispose of unneeded donations. Many groups have been disappointed that their efforts and the goods they collected were not appreciated. Get precise information and confirm the need before collecting any donated goods.

Assistance Needed State-By-State
Thirteen states in the U.S. Southeastern and Central regions have been impacted by recent floods and tornadoes: Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Wisconsin. Donations can be made to each of these specific states through the National Donations Management Network,; additional points of contact for select states are listed below.

Alabama: or 888-421-1266
Mississippi: or toll-free number 888-353-1793
Louisiana: or toll-free 866-286-3835

The Florida Division of Emergency Management and Volunteer Florida have also provided trained disaster personnel to assist impacted states in recovery from the recent severe weather.

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The Governor’s Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service, Volunteer Florida, was established in 1994 by the Florida Legislature to administer grants under the National and Community Service Trust Act of 1993. The Commission grants funds to Florida AmeriCorps and National Service programs; coordinates volunteerism in disaster preparedness, response and recovery; and helps to strengthen and expand volunteer engagement for everyone from youths to seniors to people with disabilities. For more information, visit:

The Florida’s Disaster Fund is managed by Florida’s Foundation, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) charitable organization. The mission of the Florida’s Disaster Fund is to raise funds to help Floridians with recovery from natural disasters through strengthening families and rebuilding communities. For more information, visit:

For more information on the Florida Division of Emergency Management and to GET A PLAN!, please visit: . Follow us on Twitter at and on Facebook at


The Florida Division of Emergency Management, in partnership with the Florida Outdoor Advertising Association (FOAA) and its operator members, will sponsor important test emergency alerts to be broadcast on digital billboards across Florida. This will occur in coordination with the start of the State Emergency Response Team’s Statewide Hurricane Exercise on May 23, 2011.

“This FOAA public alert system will help us ensure our residents and visitors get critical information should a real hurricane threaten our state this season,” said Director of the Florida Division of Emergency Management, Bryan W. Koon. “We greatly appreciate this partnership with the FOAA and the dedication of its members to the safety and wellbeing of Floridians during disasters.”

The “TEST” emergency alert will be broadcast on May 23, 2011 between 12:00 – 2:00 p.m., and 5:00 – 7:00 p.m. In addition, FOAA members will also be donating space on their digital billboards statewide to raise awareness for hurricane preparedness by posting five different messages (based on space availability) from May 21 - May 31, 2011. The Division of Emergency Management will include the geo-location of each of these billboard sites on its publicly available GIS mapping tool – the Geospatial Assessment Tool for Operations and Response (GATOR) which is available at This is an additional avenue for the public and emergency managers to access important information during any disaster event.

The goal of this test is to enable Florida’s general public to preview test emergency alerts for future reference in emergency situations. The list of all digital billboards in the state and a copy of the “TEST” emergency alert artwork are available upon request.

For more information on the Florida Outdoor Advertising Association, please visit, and for more about the Florida Division of Emergency Management and to GET A PLAN!, please visit: Follow us on Twitter at and on Facebook at

Friday, May 6, 2011


The State of Florida has received requests from the states of Mississippi and Alabama to provide trained disaster personnel to assist in the recovery from recent severe weather that produced devastating tornados across the region. The Division of Emergency Management provides interstate assistance as a part of the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC), which allows disaster-impacted states to request and receive assistance from other states quickly and efficiently.

“Our utmost concern is for the health and safety of the residents of the states impacted by this disaster,” said Bryan W. Koon, director of the Florida Division of Emergency Management. “In accordance with our Emergency Management Assistance Compact, we send our solemn support in this time of great need.”

The personnel requested will work to fill mission-critical needs identified by Mississippi and Alabama’s emergency managers. In Mississippi, Florida will provide technical support to the state and local emergency management agencies in the areas of disaster recovery operations, emergency housing, and individual assistance to tornado-affected areas. In Alabama, the State will send personnel to assist in the coordination of Amateur Radio communications, volunteers and donations, and public information. Under the EMAC agreement, any Florida agency that provides requested staff and resources will receive a complete cost reimbursement from the requesting state.

For more information on the Emergency Management Assistance Compact, the Florida Division of Emergency Management and to GET A PLAN!, please visit: Follow us on Twitter at and on Facebook at

Thursday, April 28, 2011


The State of Florida has received a Fire Management Assistance Grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), allowing the use of federal funds to reimburse response costs to fight the Slope Wildfire in Collier County.

“We are very grateful for the rapid response from FEMA to our request for assistance,” said Bryan W. Koon, director of the Florida Division of Emergency Management. “This Fire Management Assistance Grant will ensure that local and state responders have the resources they need to fight this wildfire and to help save homes and property.”

State emergency and Division of Forestry officials requested the Fire Management Assistance Grant (FMAG) for Collier County late Wednesday afternoon and the request was granted early Thursday morning. The Slope Wildfire in Collier County has grown to more than 1,500 acres and is presently threatening Golden Gate Estates.

Federal fire management assistance covers seventy-five percent of eligible fire response costs such as field camps; equipment use; tools, materials and supplies; additional personnel; aircraft utilization, as well mobilization and demobilization activities.

For more information on the Florida Division of Emergency Management and to GET A PLAN!, please visit: Follow us on Twitter at and on Facebook at

Friday, April 15, 2011


State and local emergency management officials are encouraging residents and visitors in the Florida Panhandle and Florida Big Bend areas to stay alert and exercise caution as a potentially severe storm system moves into the area.

“The NOAA Storm Prediction Center has placed all of the Florida Panhandle and Western Big Bend in an area for an enhanced risk of severe storms on Friday night into Saturday,” said Amy Godsey, State Meteorologist. “This severe weather threat may spread east through Saturday, and we encourage residents and visitors across the region to monitor this weather system and to be prepared to act if warnings are issued.”

This storm system will have the potential to produce large hail, damaging wind gusts and isolated tornadoes. Residents and visitors to the state should monitor local media outlets and ensure that their NOAA All-Hazards Weather Radio alert settings are turned on.

A Tornado Watch means conditions are favorable for tornadoes and severe thunderstorms. A Tornado Warning means a tornado has been reported as sighted, or been picked up on radar in the area.

For more information on the Florida Division of Emergency Management and to GET A PLAN!, please visit: Follow us on Twitter at

Friday, March 25, 2011

Florida Division of Emergency Management Conducts a Successful Exercise with Turkey Point Nuclear Power Facility

The Florida Division of Emergency Management received a draft evaluation this week from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) that the state, in coordination with county partners and Florida Power and Light, has conducted a successful exercise on February 23, 2011 with the Turkey Point Nuclear Power Plant located in Biscayne Bay, Florida.

“I applaud our state, local and private sector team’s dedication to successfully completing this annual exercise,” said Bryan W. Koon, Director of the Florida Division of Emergency Management. “Every individual who participated showed exceptional effort to make this exercise a success.”

The overall objective of the exercise was to assess the level of state and local preparedness in responding to a simulated radiological emergency at the Turkey Point Nuclear Power Plant. No Deficiencies or Areas Requiring Corrective Action were identified by the federal evaluators.

Each year, all nuclear power plants (Crystal River, Turkey Point, and Saint Lucie, as well as Farley in Dothan AL), conduct a full-scale exercise with the surrounding counties, state, FEMA, and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. These exercises ensure all levels of government are well-versed on the plans and procedures needed to respond to an emergency.

For more information on the Florida Division of Emergency Management and to GET A PLAN! please visit: Follow us on Twitter at

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

DEM Launches Online Continuity of Government Website to Make State and Local Disaster Planning Easier and More Efficient

The Florida Division of Emergency Management announced today the launch of an online planning tool that will help state agencies, local governments, and non-governmental organizations create plans for the continuity of government during and after a disaster. This innovative tool will help ensure that all agencies and local governments can continue to meet the needs of its citizens after a severe emergency. Furthermore, this web-based planning resource makes it easier for state agencies and local governments to prepare for the potential needs of their citizens after catastrophic incidents.

Florida’s long experience with emergency situations teaches us that disasters can impact an organization’s leadership capabilities and ability to deliver crucial services. This interactive tool ensures that state agencies and local governments possess the necessary plans to provide continuous leadership and authority during a major event. A continuity of government plan reinforces an organization’s stability and legal authority to act in a crisis, and helps to ensure that the lifesaving mission of state and local agencies continue even after a severe disaster impact.

Planning for continuity of government operations maximizes the ability of state agencies and local governments to provide three critical services to residents during and after disasters, namely:

 Reducing and mitigating the disruption to essential government functions
 Ensuring that there are approved plans for the transfer of operational command and control
 Creating a pre-approved decision mechanism for delegations of authority

The Division conducted a series of BETA tests with several state and local agencies before officially launching the website. This testing enabled programmers to troubleshoot any potential problems with the system, and allowed agencies to provide valuable feedback to better the system.

To create your own family disaster survival plan, please visit Once there, you can develop an individualized plan to keep you and your family safe during an emergency.