In the wake of problems surrounding relief efforts in New Orleans, emergency management officials in Tallahassee are going out of their way to assure people they are prepared for the worst and hoping for the best.
Rita is the seventh hurricane to hit Florida in the last 13 months and the fifth storm this year. For Keys residents, the governor’s message was simple.
“Now is the time to hunker down!”
After the disaster in New Orleans, state officials are making it clear the feds are here as partners, helping every step of the way.
Craig Fugate, State Emergency Director, says Florida has a plan and is prepared.
“Reestablish communication, life safety security, get commodities in there as needed, get the infrastructure rebuilt, and get the keys open for business again, and that’s our battle plan.”
Since evacuations began and Rita began pummeling the Keys, there have been fewer than 150 price gouging complaints made to the state.
Gas supplies in the state are plentiful for now, but Port Everglades is closed until Thursday, and Jeb Bush says the real concern is looking several days out.
“When that’s disrupted, as it will be for a few days, that creates the need for all of us to conserve.”
The initial state response includes 2,400 National Guardsmen on active duty, another 2,000 on standby, and at least 50 trucks of ice and water.
The state has also lined up more than a dozen helicopters to build what it calls an air bridge to the Keys if necessary.