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