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Florida's Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan

Florida’s Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan (CEMP) makes certain assumptions regarding evacuations including: Local governments will initiate actions to save lives and protect property: Evacuation and sheltering may require regional coordination; Disability civil rights laws require physical accessibility of shelter facilities, effective communication using multiple methods, full access to emergency services, and modification of programs where needed. In accordance with Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act, evacuation shelters will offer individuals with disabilities the same benefits provided to those without disabilities. These benefits include safety, comfort, food, medical care, and the support of family and care-givers; Planning at the county and state levels will be based on pre-identification of populations and determination of resource shortfalls and contingencies. The counties will identify resources for persons with special needs.9 The counties will use local registries for persons with special needs to identify needs and plan appropriately; and Florida’s population resides in diverse communities across coastal, urban, and rural areas. With the exception of Orlando, most of the state’s population is located near the coast. There are other communities that are not fully urbanized but are emerging as centers of growth, such as Polk County and the cities of Ocala and Tallahassee. Rural Florida consists largely of cattle ranches, farms, pine forests, fishing villages and small towns. Therefore, response recovery and mitigation activities must be tailored to the type of community impacted by disasters.

The CEMP states that: The Division of Emergency Management has the responsibility for maintaining a program to reduce the deficit of evacuation shelter spaces and for increasing the number of special-needs evacuation shelter spaces. Shelter spaces are required to comply with standards as set forth in American Red Cross ARC 4496, which establishes minimum shelter structural criteria.11 A local state of emergency (as opposed to a statewide or regional state of emergency) must be declared by a mayor, city manager, or board of county commissioners. Pursuant to section 252.38, F.S., if an emergency is declared by the Governor, each political subdivision shall have the power and authority to perform certain activities such as appropriating and expending funds and entering into contracts related to the emergency. Local governments are authorized to take whatever prudent action is necessary to ensure the health, safety, and welfare of the communityFlorida's Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan

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