Volunteer Florida, the State of Florida's agency for volunteers and donations, is sharing the following message community members interested in helping.
CASH, CONFIRM, CONNECT: This is our primary message, always.
CASH: Cash is the most flexible and effective form of donation.
To donate to the Florida Disaster Fund, Florida's private fund established to assist communities throughout disaster response and recovery:
- Visit www.floridadisasterfund.org to donate online. The website also includes text and check instructions.
- Text "DISASTER" ($10) or "DISASTER25" ($25) to 20222. Website explains requirements (must be 18, data rates may apply, etc.)
- Individuals can write checks and send to our address: Make out to “Volunteer Florida Foundation” and put “Florida Disaster Fund” in the memo line. Donations specific to current disaster event relief should include the following in the memo line “Florida Disaster Fund- current disaster event”.
- If the Florida Disaster Fund has not been opened up, donation information will be shared with Volunteer Florida staff. If no information has been shared—refer individuals wishing to donate to NVOAD.org – these are our partner organizations that are vetted, reputable and work in coordination and collaboration with Emergency Management.
CONFIRM: If not donating cash, individuals should confirm that there is a legitimate need before collecting items and material donations. We also encourage volunteers to affiliate with established organizations and ensure that they are needed before visiting impacted areas.
CONNECT: Volunteers are a critical part of disaster response and recovery. Browse Volunteer Connect for opportunities. Visit www.volunteerflorida.org .
Volunteers should never self-deploy. This may:
· Cause logistical difficulties for government and voluntary organizations,
· Increase work for first-responders or
· Create additional risks if individuals do not have appropriate training.
Our partners have established processes for disaster response, and as part of that team, we adhere to those processes and guidance. Recovery work continues for weeks, months and even years after disaster events occur. Organizations may have a significant need for volunteers in the weeks and months ahead; recovery work continues long after disasters have occurred. A surge of unorganized volunteers immediately following a disaster can actually cause more issues than assistance and can be dangerous.
Due to Hurricane Ian's limited impacts to the Florida Panhandle and the relative safety of our citizens, today's community update will be the last on Ian unless anything significantly changes.
Earlier this afternoon, Hurricane Ian made landfall as one of southwest Florida's most intense hurricanes on record. While the weather impacts to Leon County will be very minor, the damage to lives and livelihoods for all Floridians will be immense.
As a result, Leon County Government and our local disaster response agencies remain in close coordination with the State of Florida to meet any requests for personnel, resources, and support of any kind. We will continue to look for every opportunity to assist communities impacted by Hurricane Ian while remaining aligned with all statewide efforts.
In preparation for storm-related impacts, many communities in central and southeast Florida have opened shelters for their residents in need.
The following is a list of currently open shelters in Florida:
- FloridaDisaster.org contains a summary of currently open general and special needs shelters within the State of Florida.
- The Visit Florida website contains current travel safety information as well as resources for hotel and lodging availability across the state of Florida.
- The American Red Cross shelter directory contains a list of currently open American Red Cross shelters across the country.
Leon County remains a welcoming community for all visitors, including those within communities that have issued voluntary or mandatory evacuations for its residents.
Office, School, and University/College Closures
Classes at Florida State University and Florida A&M University’s Tallahassee campus remain canceled through Friday, September 30. FSU and FAMU Tallahassee Campus is open today, September 28, but will be close Thursday, September 29, through Friday, September 30.
The Florida A&M University Viticulture Center and Quincy facility will follow the Tallahassee campus schedule.
Leon County Schools will remain open on Thursday, September 29, through Friday, September 30.
Operations continue to change minute-by-minute, so for the latest information, please check the websites of the respective office, school, and university/college.
To stay up-to-date on Leon County preparedness actions, such as sand bag locations and preparedness tips, you have the following resources:
- LeonReady.com – The Leon Ready website is a hub of resources to help you, your family and your neighborhood prepare for disasters. There are a variety of resources available, like the County’s 2022 Disaster Survival Guide, a full list of disaster supplies for your disaster bucket, and so much more, to increase your readiness.
- Download the Leon County Citizens Connect Mobile App - Completely redesigned, the Citizens Connect mobile app puts timely emergency notifications at your fingertips through push notifications on your smartphone or other device. Be the first to know about shelter locations, road closures and service changes by downloading the application on the Apple and Google Play stores.
- Visit the Leon County Emergency Information Portal - Hosting the same information as the Citizens Connect app, the Emergency Information Portal can be accessed on a desktop or a mobile browser by visiting www.LeonCountyFL.gov/ei.
- Listen to 88.9 WFSU-FM - Citizens can tune in to 88.9 FM for the most up-to-date information from local public safety officials. Featuring to-the-minute reporting, WFSU, Leon County and the City of Tallahassee remain committed to getting information out on the radio as soon as possible.
- Additionally, iHeartRadio will also provide updates on the following stations: WFLA-FM 100.7, WFLF-FM 94.5, WTNT 94.9, KISS-FM 107.1, X-FM101.5, and The Beat-FM 105.3.
- Call 2-1-1 Big Bend - If you need community information, services and support any day of the year, Big Bend 2-1-1 is reachable by dialing either 2-1-1 or (850) 617-6333.
- Call (850) 606-3700 with questions - Leon County Emergency Management staff is available to answer questions from what you should prepare, act and recover.
- For updates on City of Tallahassee Utilities and other City services, visit Talgov.com.
- Insurance Helpline - The Florida Department of Financial Services offers a toll-free Insurance Consumer Helpline to assist Florida's insurance consumers. Insurance Specialists are available to answer questions or concerns regarding insurance coverage and advocate on a consumer's behalf to resolve a dispute with an insurance company. To receive assistance, call 1-877-MY-FL-CFO (693-5236) toll-free, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- Price Gouging - During a state of emergency, it is unlawful to sell or lease certain commodities for an amount that grossly exceeds the average price. To report price gouging, call 1-866-966-7226.
- If you are looking for gas, use GasBuddy.com to report fuel prices and availability.
The County and City continue to make sandbags available to the public at the locations listed below. Please note that Leon County and City of Tallahassee sandbag operations will conclude today, September 28 at 5 p.m.
- Leon County's Northeast Branch Library, 5513 Thomasville Road (County)
- Apalachee Regional Park (Solid Waste Management Facility), 7550 Apalachee Parkway (County)
- Fred George Park, 3043 Capital Circle NW (County)
- At the intersection of Oak Ridge at Ranchero roads (County)
- James Messer Park South, 2830 Jackson Bluff Rd (City)
- Springsax Park, 1000 Springsax Rd (City)
- The south parking lot of the Northwood Centre, 1940 North Monroe (City)
- Jack McLean Park, 700 Paul Russell Road (City)
County locations will be staffed to assist citizens. Sand, bags and ties will be available for public use. Residents are asked to take no more than 15 (25 City) bags to allow others to prepare. Staff will monitor the sites to replenish as needed.
Although we were spared from this storm, the 2022 hurricane season is not over. Leon County and the City of Tallahassee encourage citizens to put disaster supplies in a waterproof and durable five-gallon bucket. Keep these essential items near an exit door in your home or in your vehicle.
Some important items include a flashlight, medications, nonperishable food and water. Visit LeonReady.com to view the 2022 Disaster Survival Guide for disaster preparedness resources and a full list of preparedness items.
Once you and your family have a hurricane preparedness plan in place, check on your neighbors to ensure that they have one, too. Neighborhoods that prepare together create strong support networks that are vital to a speedy recovery. In the event of a major disaster, your neighbors will be your closest resource and support.
It is important to know the difference between a hurricane watch and a hurricane warning. A hurricane watch is an announcement that hurricane conditions (sustained winds of 74 miles per hour or higher) are possible within a specified area. Watches are generally issued 48 hours in advance of a hurricane winds. A warning indicates conditions are expected, and these are issued 36 hours in advance.
Prepare your home for strong winds by visually inspecting trees on your property for poor health and reduce the risk to your home by trimming hanging limbs. If you have any questions about your tree's health, contact a Certified Arborist to assist you.
If you have any questions about how best to prepare, please call The Leon County Citizens Information Line at (850) 606-3700.
For current information about local preparedness and response, please follow Twitter.com/LeonCounty.