Calhoun County Hurricane Michael recovery updates

CALHOUN COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - People in Calhoun County continue to work toward recovery after Hurricane Michael.

UPDATE 10/24/2018 4:47 p.m.
From Governor Rick Scott's Office:
Governor Rick Scott has been in constant communication with local officials and emergency management in Calhoun County. The following information has been reported to the State Emergency Response Team and includes specific actions the state has taken to aid the residents of Calhoun County impacted by Hurricane Michael.

FEMA Individual Assistance and Public Assistance was approved October 11. Federal re-employment assistance is also now available for individuals in Calhoun County.

FOOD AND WATER
• There are four points of distribution in Calhoun County that are either open or opening.
o Altha Town Hall at 25586 N. Main St., Altha
o Sam Atkins Park 17316 NW Silas Green St., Blountstown
o Mossy Pond Library at 22216 NW Lake Mckinzie Blvd., Altha
o Kinard Public Library 5382 SW SR 73, Kinard

FUEL
• There is one fueling station set up for first responders and utility crews to rapidly refuel so they can continue working.

COMMUNICATIONS
• Currently, 92.86% percent of cellular service coverage has been restored in Calhoun County. This does not include mobile cellular assets augmenting the network.
• Communications support packages have been dispatched through the Florida National Guard to Calhoun County.

POWER RESTORATION
• 11 push crews are working with utility crews to restore power for utilities that provide service for Calhoun County.
• Current power outage in Calhoun County as of 3 p.m. is 4,534 or 65%.
• There are currently 11 generators providing power in Calhoun County

SHELTERS
• Currently one shelter is open:
o Mossy Pond Community Center: 22216 NW Lake McKenzie Blvd., Altha, FL
• Visit https://www.floridadisaster.org/shelter-status/ to find information on shelters in your area. This site is being updated as shelters open throughout the day.

MILITARY SUPPORT
• There are currently 81 National Guard troops deployed to Calhoun County. National Guard troops are assisting with conducting reconnaissance, search and rescue, and road clearance missions.

LAW ENFORCEMENT
• The Florida Highway Patrol is supplementing local law enforcement agency efforts to assist with traffic control throughout the county.
• FWC officers continue removing debris, conducting welfare checks, delivering water, ice and other supplies, checking Forestry Service sites, working with EMS on medical needs and providing aid at Altha Church of God and Altha School in Calhoun County.
• FWC officers are also assisting with tarp installation and debris removal at the Pioneer Settlement.

TRANSPORTATION & PUBLIC WORKS
• All state roads in Calhoun County are open.
• The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) has completed all bridge inspections and all state bridges are open.

PUBLIC HEALTH AND MEDICAL
• The Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) is in contact with healthcare facilities to ensure they have the resources they need.
• Assisted living facility, Rivertown Senior Care is open and on full generator power.
• Calhoun Liberty Hospital is on generator power with an open Emergency Department.
• Facilities report their evacuation status to the Agency through the Emergency Status System. An updated evacuation report can be found on the AHCA twitter page: https://twitter.com/AHCA_FL
• One ambulance strike team has been deployed to Calhoun County.
• A Disaster Medical Assistance Team (DMAT) has been deployed to Calhoun County.
• There are two open pharmacies in Calhoun County.

ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION
• An online tool for the public to report the location of storm debris in waterways has been deployed. 522 reports of debris have been received.
• DEP has completed two requests and is assisting with one additional request for assistance submitted through Florida's Water/Wastewater Agency Response Network (FlaWARN) in Calhoun County.
• Hazardous Area Response Teams (HART) have completed assessments for all hazardous waste facilities in Calhoun County.
• 235 Disaster Debris Management Sites have been pre-authorized for the counties addressed by the Governor’s Executive Order, with three in Calhoun County. An additional seven sites have been approved in Calhoun County.
• DEP staff have met with the Blountstown City Manager and the Altha City Manager to make sure their needs are met.
BUSINESS AND INDUSTRY
• Today, Governor Rick Scott announced that Florida has been awarded federal National Dislocated Worker Grants to provide temporary employment to Floridians affected by Hurricane Michael. This program is administered by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) and provides disaster relief employment in the form of temporary jobs that support storm response and recovery efforts. See the press release HERE.
o To look for employment opportunities to help rebuild Florida’s communities after a disaster or to post disaster-related jobs where a labor force is needed, visit Florida’s Disaster Recovery Jobs Portal at https://disasterrecovery.employflorida.com.
o For information regarding National Dislocated Worker Grants, visit your local career center at http://www.careersourceflorida.com/your-local-team.
• The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) has launched the Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program to provide short-term, interest-free loans to affects businesses at www.floridadisasterloan.org.
• The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity is working with CareerSource North Florida and CareerSource Northeast Florida to send mobile units, along with staff and resources, including water, gas, generators, flashlights and satellite phones to allow CareerSource partners in the panhandle to begin assisting jobseekers and businesses as a part of the recovery efforts.
• Disaster cleanup and other related job openings are now available at http://disasterrecovery.employflorida.com for businesses to post job openings and for individuals to find job opportunities.
• DEO has opened the Business Damage Assessment Survey for businesses impacted by Hurricane Michael. Businesses with damage should complete the survey at https://www.floridadisaster.biz/BusinessDamageAssessments.
• Businesses can also visit FloridaDisaster.biz to view tips for assessing storm damage and to register to receive updates on storm recovery.

EDUCATION
• The Florida Department of Education (FDOE) is in contact with school districts, state colleges and universities for updates and to determine their needs and provide assistance.
• Calhoun County schools will reopen for staff Monday, October 29, and for students Thursday, November 1.
• FDOE will be posting up-to-date information regarding closures and meeting cancellations at www.fldoe.org/hurricaneinfo.

VOLUNTEER EFFORTS
• Volunteer Florida’s ESF-15 representative from Flagler County has deployed to the Emergency Operations Center in Calhoun County. The coordinator is mobilizing registered volunteers and coordinating incoming donations, while serving as a liaison between Volunteer Florida and the Calhoun County.
• Under the direction of Volunteer Florida, a Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) from Walton County is assisting with sheltering operations and donation management in Calhoun County.
• At Governor Scott’s direction, Volunteer Florida has activated the Florida Disaster Fund, the State of Florida’s official private fund established to assist Florida’s communities as they respond to and recover during times of emergency or disaster. In partnership with the public sector, private sector and other non-governmental organizations, the Florida Disaster Fund supports response and recovery activities.
o Disaster Fund supports response and recovery activities. To donate, visit, www.volunteerflorida.org/donatefdf/.
• The Red Cross has an emergency response vehicle stationed in Gulf County. This vehicle provides food and water for people affected by Hurricane Michael.

STATE EMERGENCY OPERATION CENTER/ CONTACTS
• The State Assistance Information Line (SAIL) contact number is 1-800-342-3557.
• The State Emergency Operations Center Media Line: 850-921-0217.
• Follow @FLSert or @FLGovScott on Twitter for live updates on Hurricane Michael.
• Visit http://www.floridadisaster.org/info to find information on shelters, road closures, and evacuation routes.

UPDATE: October 23, 2018, 11:30 a.m.

Gulf Coast Electric Cooperative reports Tuesday morning that power has been restored to 10,070 members in Bay, Calhoun, Gulf, Walton and Washington counties. This represents approximately 48 percent of Gulf Coast Electric Cooperative’s total distribution system, which serves 20,815 members.

As of 9 a.m., Gulf Coast Electric Cooperative had the following outage numbers: Calhoun County: 1,689 meters (92 percent)

TOTAL SYSTEM OUTAGES: 10,745 (52 percent)

Crews are working across all counties in Gulf Coast Electric Cooperative’s service area. However, many homes and businesses are damaged to the point that they will not be able to accept service once it becomes available.

There are more than 1,100 crewmen working on the restoration effort. Because all efforts are focused on power restoration, GCEC office lobbies are closed until further notice.

Due to the damage that GCEC offices received during the storm, service to the online bill pay system at www.gcec.com and phone system is intermittent. Repairs are being made to make all communication systems fully operational.

Follow Gulf Coast Electric Cooperative on Facebook for further updates.

Calhoun County schools are tentatively set to open November 1.

The curfew is now 10 p.m. to four a.m.

There is a boil water notice for Blountstown water utility customers.

The shelters at Blountstown High School and Mossy Pond Library are still open.

Food, water, ice, and FEMA services are available daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Sam Atkins Park, Mossy Pond Library, Altha Town Hall and the Kinard Volunteer Fire Department.

The burn ban is still in effect.