Governor Rick Scott Declares “State Of Emergency” in Florida
This week, Governor Rick Scott has declared Florida in a “State Of Emergency” in the wake of looming Hurricane Irma. Last year, between the Toxic Algae Bloom, Hurricane Hermine and Hurricane Matthew, many are confused as to what the phrase “state of emergency” actually means. No Is it an overreaction, or is it a necessary precaution? As Hurricane Irma possibly approaches Florida, understanding what “state of emergency” means is important when evaluating safety risks.
When announcing the state of emergency, Governor Rick Scott said, “Hurricane Irma is a major and life-threatening storm and Florida must be prepared.” Last year when discussing the state of emergency for Hurricane Matthew he said,”If Hurricane Matthew directly impacts Florida, there could be massive destruction which we haven’t seen since Hurricane Andrew devastated Miami-Dade County in 1992. That is why we cannot delay and must prepare for direct impact now.” We can assume the same sentiment for Hurricane Irma, as it is sustaining 150 mph winds at the last check.
According to Florida Law, “A state of emergency shall be declared by executive order or proclamation of the Governor if she or he finds an emergency has occurred or that the occurrence or the threat thereof is imminent. The state of emergency shall continue until the Governor finds that the threat or danger has been dealt with to the extent that the emergency conditions no longer exist and she or he terminates the state of emergency by executive order or proclamation, but no state of emergency may continue for longer than 60 days unless renewed by the Governor.”
How Does Declaring “State of Emergency” Help?
By declaring a state of emergency in the wake of Hurricane Irma, a couple different avenues open for Gov. Scott to pursue if he deems necessary. It also significantly reduces legal red tape that block off resources. For example, it activates the emergency mitigation, response and recovery aspects of the state, local and inter-jurisdictional emergency management plans. It also gives Gov. Scott the authority to deploy and use any forces he needs and to help distribute supplies and needed materials. The National Guard is currently standing by, and they are moving fuel to the state’s east coast. In addition to several more regulations that you can read here, Florida law also prohibits price gouging of essential commodities such as food, ice, gas, wood and hotels during a declared state of emergency.
So, even though all 67 counties in Florida under this current state of emergency might not be affected much by Hurricane Irma, it is still important to take this precautionary measure. Weather, as much as it predictable, it can be very unpredictable. All Florida residents need to be ready in case Hurricane Irma causes unexpected devastation. By declaring a state of emergency Floridians can feel a little more at ease knowing that Gov. Scott activated the channels to get the resources we need.
Hancock Injury Attorneys encourages you to avoid driving if you are in an area affected by hurricane force conditions. If you 100% have to drive, make sure you know the best practices for driving in rainy weather.