Hurricane Recovery Support

As the trusted source for travel information that informs and inspires travel to and within Florida, VISIT FLORIDA plays a vital role in the state’s crisis response and recovery efforts. In the aftermath of Hurricane Michael, VISIT FLORIDA has fully transitioned into recovery assistance mode. We are working with all of our Partners, in both the public and private sectors, to make sure every industry member has the resources needed to recover.

Below are resources currently available to assist those who have been impacted.

For Residents:

  • Florida Emergency Information 24-hour Hotline: 800-342-3557
  • Alert Florida: Sign up to receive emergency alerts and other public safety notifications in your community.
  • Open shelters: View a list of currently open general and special needs shelters within the State of Florida.
  • Evacuation and curfew orders
  • Disaster Assistance: Following a request by Governor Scott, and approval by FEMA, families in Bay, Calhoun, Franklin, Gadsden, Gulf, Holmes, Jackson, Leon, Liberty, Taylor, Wakulla and Washington counties are eligible for FEMA individual assistance. Additional counties may be added later. If you are in one of these counties, you will need the following to apply:
    • Social Security Number;
    • Daytime telephone number;
    • Current mailing address and address and zip code of the damaged property; and
    • Insurance information, if available.
  • Transitional Sheltering Assistance: Governor Scott’s request for Transitional Sheltering Assistance has been approved for Bay County, meaning that FEMA will be providing more options for places for families to stay, including hotel rooms. Families in Bay County looking to confirm their TSA eligibility should call 1-800-621-FEMA (3362). You can also visit www.DisasterAssistance.gov for more information on TSA and to find participating hotels and motels.
  • Family reunification: Due to issues with communication lines throughout parts of northwest Florida, there has been an increase in the number of calls for individuals missing, well-being checks, and concerns.
    • American Red Cross Safe and Well: After a disaster, letting your family and friends know that you are safe and well can bring your loved ones great peace of mind. Register yourself as 'Safe and Well' through the American Red Cross and search a list of those who have marked themselves 'Safe and Well' here.
  • National Dislocated Worker Grant: The federal National Dislocated Worker Grant, administered by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, provides disaster relief employment in the form of temporary jobs that support storm response and recovery efforts. For information regarding National Dislocated Worker Grants, visit your local career center at http://www.careersourceflorida.com/your-local-team.
  • Employment opportunities: 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.
  • Disaster Unemployment Assistance: DUA is now available to Florida businesses and residents whose employment or self-employment was lost or interrupted as a result of Hurricane Michael in Bay, Calhoun, Franklin, Gadsden, Gulf, Holmes, Jackson, Liberty, Taylor, Wakulla and Washington counties. File DUA applications by November 14, 2018. To file a claim go to www.FloridaJobs.org or call 1-800-385-3920.
  • County emergency management contacts and websites
  • Points of Distribution: A Point of Distribution or POD is where the public goes to pick up emergency supplies following a disaster. The need for a POD is based on lack of infrastructure to support normal distribution of food, water, or other supplies.
  • Power outages
  • Boil Water Notices: Florida Department of Health lists boil water notices. Their list has been compiled from multiple sources, including press reports, utility data, and information from local authorities. Your utility or county emergency contact will have the latest and most up-to-date information.
  • Public Debris Reporting Tool: The Florida Public Debris Reporting Tool can be used to report significant debris impacting your community.
  • Free Hurricane Michael Home Cleanup Hotline: Call 1-800-451-1954 for help from local relief agencies. All services are free, but service is not guaranteed.
  • VISIT FLORIDA has activated the Expedia/VISIT FLORIDA Hotel Accommodation Web Portal to support evacuation orders and first responders. See up-to-date accommodations availability information at expedia.com/florida.
  • Airbnb Open Homes is now active in Alabama, Florida and Georgia in response to Hurricane Michael. Airbnb community members have opened their homes at no cost to displaced evacuees and first responders.
  • Florida 511: Get up-to-the-minute, real-time traffic conditions and incident information for the State of Florida.
  • Florida Disaster Fund: Governor Rick Scott activated the Florida Disaster Fund to support individuals who are impacted by Hurricane Michael. The Florida Disaster Fund helps provide financial support to Florida’s communities in times of disaster. To make a contribution, please visit www.FloridaDisasterFund.org or text DISASTER to 20222 to make a one-time donation of $10.

For Businesses:

  • Business Damage Assessment Survey: The Department of Economic Opportunity has opened the Business Damage Assessment Survey for businesses impacted by Hurricane Michael. Businesses with damage should complete the survey.
  • Private Sector Hotline: The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity has activated the Private Sector Hotline at 850-815-4925. The hotline is available for business inquiries about the storm and post-impact information.
  • Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program : Governor Rick Scott activated the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program to support small businesses impacted by Hurricane Michael. The bridge loan program, managed by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, will provide short-term, interest-free loans to small businesses that experienced physical or economic damage during Hurricane Michael. The application period opened October 12 and runs through December 7, 2018.
  • Re-entry Information: Individuals and businesses seeking to provide essential commodities and services to impacted areas will be allowed reentry.
  • Employment opportunities: 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.
  • Disaster Unemployment Assistance: DUA is now available to Florida businesses and residents whose employment or self-employment was lost or interrupted as a result of Hurricane Michael in Bay, Calhoun, Franklin, Gadsden, Gulf, Holmes, Jackson, Liberty, Taylor, Wakulla and Washington counties. File DUA applications by November 14, 2018. To file a claim go to www.FloridaJobs.org or call 1-800-385-3920.
  • View tips for assessing storm damage and to register to receive updates on storm recovery at FloridaDisaster.biz.

For Insurance Claims:

  • The Office of Insurance Regulation has ordered property insurers to submit claims information from Hurricane Michael on a daily basis for the next two weeks. Additional data calls will be scheduled in the near future.
  • The Office of Insurance Regulation's Incident Management Team remains fully activated and will have representatives at the State Emergency Operations Center in Tallahassee. OIR team members will be actively working throughout the recovery phase with consumer advocates, industry stakeholders and entities licensed under OIR's regulatory authority.
  • CFO Jimmy Patronis' Division of Consumer Services has resources to assist consumers with the claims-filing process or file insurance complaints here.

To Donate and/or Volunteer:

  • Donate: Governor Rick Scott activated the Florida Disaster Fund to support individuals who are impacted by Hurricane Michael. The Florida Disaster Fund helps provide financial support to Florida’s communities in times of disaster. To make a contribution, please visit www.FloridaDisasterFund.org or text DISASTER to 20222 to make a one-time donation of $10.
  • Volunteer: Volunteers are a critical resource as communities recover from disasters. As Volunteer Florida’s partner organizations assess needs and evaluate resources, they will begin to organize volunteer opportunities. Volunteer Florida will provide those organizations with information from their database about individuals who want to serve their communities. Sign up to volunteer at volunteerflorida.org.
  • As disaster recovery efforts continue, VISIT FLORIDA will keep the industry updated on how to best support longer term relief and recovery.