In response to Tropical Storm Debby, Florida’s West Coast Region immediately mobilized our volunteers and staff to provide shelter, food, and disaster assessment in affected areas throughout the region.
The storm damaged homes, washed away roads, closed bridges, downed trees and power lines, and prompted the evacuation of residents. The Disaster Relief Operation was assigned a number and name, DR 462-12 TS Debby 6/12 Florida, for all areas across the state. This was a large operation with pockets of flooding and wind damage.
The Florida’s West Coast Region operated with one team and opened both the Tampa Bay Chapter and the Southwest Florida Disaster Operation Centers (DOC). The team synchronized the activities of Mass Care, External Relations, Information and Planning, Logistics, Staff Services, Disaster Services Technology and Individual Client Services. The Southwest Florida DOC was soon closed and the operation continued in the Tampa Bay area where the greatest damage occurred.
For over three weeks volunteers and staff worked seven days a week and long hours to assure everyone in our community was taken care of. This was an exceptional response where disaster assessment teams assessed 1,118 residences in 8 counties, made over 900 outreach contacts, fielded about 1,000 hotline calls and opened 80 cases to assist individuals. Six shelters opened for evacuated residents accommodating 176 overnight stays.
More than 6,600 meals and 7,800 snacks were distributed using seven Emergency Response Vehicles (ERVs). Kudos to over 160 volunteers and staff from Tampa Bay and Southwest Florida chapters who did a remarkable job helping with this disaster relief operation.