Jackson County EOC provides update on relief efforts

During a briefing at the Jackson County Emergency Management Complex on October 12, 2018, agencies met to give updates on local relief efforts, following Hurricane Michael.

Mason Brock from Florida Public Utilities stated that the company has one hundred and twenty linemen on the ground, working to restore power. Brock said there is no way to estimate at this time how long it will take to restore power to the area.

Special needs customers will be priority one for power restoration. Approximately fifty percent of the FPU power poles were broken in the storm and most of the lines are down. Brock said updates are posted on the social media pages for FPU.

A press release from Gulf Power on October 12, 2018 quotes Gulf Power representative Jeff Rogers, “It is important for customers to understand that its going to take longer in some areas to rebuild our electrical system – some of our major line infrastructure is located in heavily wooded areas or is difficult to access.”

According to the press release, Holmes, Jackson and Washington county Gulf Power customers are estimated to be restored by midnight, October 19, 2018. Jackson County Road and Bridge had 80 crews on the ground today and expects to have approximately 150 crews on the ground tomorrow. Jackson County IFAS Agent Doug Mayo is working with the Department of Agriculture and the Florida Cattlemen’s Association to secure resources for Agriculture Community in Jackson County.

Convoy of Hope will be offering food, water and ice at the Walmart on Highway 71 South in Marianna on October 13, 2018 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The organization has the capability to feed 600-700 people a day. Also, activating tomorrow are Pathfinders Task Force relief pods throughout the county.

The following locations will be providing relief items on October 13, 2018 from approximately noon to five p.m.:

  • 3277 Main Street in Cottondale (Crossroads Baptist Church)
  • 2010 Legion Road in Sneads (Ballfield)
  • 2255 State Road 71 South in Marianna (Walmart)
  • 3018 Highway 71 in Marianna (Chipola Family Ministries)
  • Another location, in Graceville, will be activated later this week.

Many organizations are asking how they can donate items to areas affected by Hurricane Michael. At this time, monetary donations to The Red Cross, The Salvation Army, The Southern Baptist Association and the United Way of Northwest Florida are best due to logistics and safety concerns.

If you know individuals or organization coming to Jackson County to bring supplies, please contact Coba Beasley with Chipola Baptist Association at 850-573-1465. Sandon S. Speedling MHS, CPM County Health Officer with The Florida Department of Health in Jackson County advises citizens not to run generators indoors or in the garage due to the possibility of carbon monoxide poisoning.

If you are concerned about theft of a generator, secure it to something outside your house. Never bring a generator indoors. Electrical issues with generators can also be extremely dangerous. If you are “backfeeding” through the power lines, please contact Florida Public Utilities or West Florida Electric Cooperative since this could energize the line and a line thought dead could be live.

It cannot be assumed that all municipal water supply is safe to drink. Therefore, a boil water notice is recommended for all municipal water systems. Bring water to a rolling boil for one minute to treat. If you do not have the means to boil, use 10 drops of unscented chlorine bleach per gallon of water and allow to sit for one minute. If water is discolored, run water until no longer discolored and then treat it.

All Jackson County citizens should be aware of scams following disasters of this nature. If approached by an individual offering to work on debris removal on your property, call your insurance company for guidance or check online with the Better Business Bureau to confirm it is a legitimate company.

Florida Fish and Wild Commission are conducting welfare checks and providing security. To request a welfare check contact the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office. A curfew is in affect from dusk until dawn through Tuesday with the potential to be extended.

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