Florida Governor: Response Efforts for Surfside Building Collapse

TALLAHASSEE,  FL (STL.News) Governor Ron DeSantis announced the opening of the Family Assistance Center to provide resources for individuals impacted by the Surfside Building Collapse.  The center includes a call center and a team of social workers to ensure accessibility to professional support systems.

This morning, Governor Ron DeSantis was joined by Lieutenant Governor Jeanette Nuñez, Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava, Chief Financial Officer and Fire Marshal Jimmy Patronis, Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Florida Division of Emergency Management (FDEM) Director Kevin Guthrie and Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett and provided updates on the Surfside Building Collapse response.

State response efforts include:

  • Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) Secretary Dane Eagle is on-site to assist in coordination of long-term recovery efforts. DEO has a mobile unit on scene with deployed personnel who are assisting individuals with completing housing assistance applications and coordinating available business resources.
  • Volunteer Florida CEO Corey Simon is on-site to meet with volunteer organizations and impacted families to help manage available resources to assist in meeting the needs of those displaced.  Volunteer Florida is also coordinating with local nonprofit organizations to establish a multi-agency donations warehouse.
  • The state is sending mental wellness teams and critical incident stress management resources to Surfside to support the mental health of Urban Search and Rescue responders.
  • Urban Search and Rescue Task Force 5 (Northeast Florida), 7 (North Florida) and 8 (North Central Florida) arrived in Surfside last night to assist local and state responders in search and recovery efforts.  An expert IDF recovery team from Israel and a team from Mexico are on the ground to provide assistance during search and rescue efforts.  There are now more than 370 Urban Search and Rescue Task Force members on-scene.
  • The Florida Department of Management Services (DMS) is coordinating with the state’s Tenant Broker to locate a warehouse to store donations for individuals impacted by the Surfside Building Collapse.
  • DMS is assisting Miami-Dade County Emergency Management in setting up call center capabilities and other technological resources for the newly established Family Assistance Center.
  • The Florida Department of Health (FDOH) is coordinating with local partners on-site to assess and respond to any potential public health hazards.
  • FDOH has activated the Florida Crisis Consortium to provide behavioral health care for impacted individuals at the Family Reunification Center.
  • FDOH is ready to offer COVID-19 vaccination outreach in areas near or at the Family Reunification Center.
  • Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) issued Emergency Order 062621, which waives replacement fees for driver license and identification credentials, vehicle registrations and titles, vessel registrations and titles and temporary parking permits for impacted individuals.
  • FLHSMV has deployed two mobile units to provide no-fee driver license and identification card replacements to impacted individuals at the Family Assistance Center.
  • Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) is providing traffic control in the Surfside area and security at the FLHSMV mobile units.
  • Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) has staged additional excavators, dump trucks and front-end loaders in the Surfside area at the request of Miami-Dade County.
  • FDOT continues to provide maintenance traffic equipment to provide support for the field operations.
  • FDOT has experienced construction and structural engineers on-scene to support ongoing rescue and recovery efforts.
  • Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation (FWC) has deployed a UTV to the Surfside area and are conducting 24-hour patrolling assistance to ensure the safety and security of residents.
  • Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) agents and analysts are assisting with family reunification efforts and victim advocacy for survivors and their loved ones.
  • The Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) is coordinating with Miami-Dade County to distribute 100 $50 gift cards to displaced individuals at the Family Assistance Center.
  • The Florida Department of Education (DOE) is collaborating with Miami-Dade Public Schools to identify health counseling and resources for families of those impacted by the Surfside Building Collapse.
  • The Florida Agency for Persons with Disabilities (APD) has confirmed with regional staff that no APD customers are residents impacted by the Surfside Building Collapse.
  • The Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation’s (DBPR) Condominium Ombudsman is available locally to provide assistance and resources for impacted individuals.

Individuals with information about loved ones who are unaccounted for, or are safe, are encouraged to call the reunification hotline at (305) 614-1819.

Impacted individuals can register for updates and access to resources through a centralized alert system by visiting SurfsideReunite.com or calling toll-free at (833) 930-3701.  Agents are available in English and Spanish and will contact individuals who have registered with the alert system.

Impacted individuals are also encouraged to contact the following helpline services for immediate emotional support:

Disaster Distress Helpline – (800) 985-5990
Florida 211 Network – 211
Crisis Text Line – Text HELLO to 741741
State personnel remain on scene and will continue to provide assistance, as requested.