Storm FAQs

September 14, 2017  
staff at emergency operation center

The State of Emergency remains for the City of Jacksonville.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What does a State of Emergency mean?

A State of Emergency declaration allows the City to more easily allocate dollars and resources to best protect lives and property.

What is the status of the evacuation order?

The mandatory evacuation order enacted on Friday, Sept. 8, for zones A and B, mobile and manufactured homes, and low-lying/coastal areas has been lifted.

Are shelters still open?

Shelters, based on capacity needs, are being consolidated. Visit the City website (www.COJ.net) and the JaxReady mobile app for the latest locations and adjustments.

Where can I find disaster relief assistance?

Individual Assistance
Duval County residents are eligible for the following Individual Assistance through FEMA: 
  • Housing Assistance provides financial and/or direct assistance to eligible disaster survivors who have necessary expenses and serious needs unmet through other resources, such as insurance.  
  • Financial Housing Assistance can include Rental Assistance, Lodging Expense Reimbursement, Home Repair Assistance, and Home Replacement Assistance. 
  • Direct Housing Assistance can include Manufactured Housing Units, Multi-Family Lease and Repair, and Permanent or Semi-Permanent Housing Construction.
  • Other Needs Assistance provides financial assistance to individuals and households who have other disaster-related necessary expenses such as medical, childcare, funeral, personal property, and transportation costs. The U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Disaster Assistance Program provides low-interest, long-term loans to those impacted by a declared disaster. 
  • Crisis Counseling Assistance & Training Program assists in recovery from the effects of a disaster through community based outreach and psycho-educational services. 
  • Disaster Case Management involves creating a Disaster Recovery Plan together with a disaster case manager to reach disaster recovery by meeting unmet needs through available resources. 
  • Disaster Unemployment Assistance provides unemployment benefits and re-employment services to individuals who have become unemployed because of the disaster and who are not eligible for regular State unemployment insurance. 
  • Disaster Legal Services provides legal assistance to low-income individuals who are unable to secure legal services adequate to meet their disaster related needs. 
HOW TO APPLY:
  • Online: https://www.disasterassistance.gov
  • Smartphone: downloading FEMA application through https://www.fema.gov
  • FEMA Toll-Free Helpline: 800-621-3362
  • FEMA Toll-Free Helpline for deaf, hard of hearing, or speech disability: 800-462-7585
  • Disaster Recovery Center open for limited periods post-disaster near your community. 
  • U.S. SBA Disaster Loan Assistance: https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela
Restrictions: Financial assistance is limited to an annually adjusted amount based on the Department of Labor Consumer Price Index. Applicants whose homes are located in a Special Flood Hazard Area and who receive assistance because of a flood-caused disaster must obtain and maintain flood insurance. Disaster survivors may need to provide documentation to help FEMA evaluate their eligibility, such as proof of occupancy, ownership, income loss, and/or information concerning an applicant’s housing situation prior to the disaster. Assistance is limited to 18 months following the disaster declaration.
 
Small Business Assistance
Gov. Rick Scott has activated the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program to support small businesses impacted by Hurricane Irma. The bridge program will provide short-term, interest-free loans to small businesses that experienced physical or economic damage during the storm. The application deadline is Oct. 31, 2017. Applications and details are available at floridadisasterloan.org.

Are the bridges open?

All Duval County bridges are currently open.

When will government offices and facilities reopen?

  • City of Jacksonville offices resume normal city business on Wednesday, Sept. 13.
  • The Duval County Courthouse and all courthouses in Florida reopen Thursday, Sept. 14.
  • All Jacksonville Public Library branches resume operations on Wednesday, Sept. 13. Overdue fines will be waived for items due when the library is closed.

Are parks open?

For information and questions on the status of parks, please visit the City website.

When will garbage and recycling collection resume?

Routine waste collections are delayed by one day for the week of Sept.10. Collections resumed Tuesday, September 12.

When will schools reopen?

For information on college and school closures, please check their individual websites. 

Who do I call if I’ve lost power?

The storm caused extensive power outages across the city. JEA is working to restore power safely. Electrical outages and service issues can be reported to JEA at (904) 665-6000 or online at JEA.com.

What do I do if I approach a malfunctioning or out-of-service traffic light?

Drivers should treat malfunctioning or out-of-service traffic lights as four-way stops.

What do I do if I find downed power lines?

If citizens encounter downed power lines, they are encouraged to keep a safe distance and call 630-CITY (2489) to report the issue.

Will the City increase spraying for mosquitoes?

With flooding and standing water, there may be an increase in mosquitoes. Mosquitoes breed by laying eggs in and near standing water. Below are a few tips to help prevent mosquito-borne illnesses:
  • Remove or turn over any outside items that can hold water (toys, bins, pet dishes, etc.) 
  • Drain and empty all containers with standing water.
  • Repair broken screens on windows, doors, porches and patios.
  • Dress appropriately for outdoor conditions (long sleeves, pants, shoes and socks) and use EPA registered mosquito repellents that contain either DEET, IR3535, Picaridin or Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus.
The City’s Mosquito Control division conducts spray operations daily. Citizens are advised to alert the City to any specific areas of concern for the Mosquito Control Division to address. They can request mosquito spraying by calling 630-CITY, visiting 630CITY.coj.net, or emailing 630CITY@coj.net.

How can I volunteer or donate during storm relief efforts?

The American Red Cross is coordinating local volunteer and humanitarian efforts. Please visit redcross.org and click the “Volunteer” link to register to be a volunteer. You can also call (904) 798-9202 to learn about local volunteer opportunities. Donations can be made to the Florida’s First Coast Relief Fund. You can make your contribution online at unitedwaynefl.org/relieffund or by texting “storm” to 50503.

STORM DEBRIS PICKUP

Separating Your Storm Debris infographic

View the PDF version of the Separating Your Storm Debris infographic

VEGETATIVE DEBRIS

Citizens have two options for pickup of VEGETATIVE DEBRIS (branches, yard waste, etc.):

(1) Prepare vegetative debris for collection along with your normal weekly yard waste collection. Bag or containerize up to five (5) cubic yards for weekly yard waste collection (Five cubic yards roughly equals 30 garbage bags OR a standard pickup truck bed filled to the top).

OR

(2) Pile vegetative storm debris in a large pile at the curb at least three feet away from utility boxes, poles, mailboxes, fire hydrants and other obstacles. Haulers will begin collecting these debris piles beginning MONDAY, SEPT. 25, 2017. Crews use vehicles with large mechanical arms that grab and scoop debris, so please DO NOT PLACE MATERIALS UNDER TREES or near any obstacles. Crews will be working seven days a week from sunrise to sunset but there won't be a schedule for your particular street. Crews will make multiple passes over the entire city. Please avoid parking on the street if a first pass for pickup has not been completed.

With both options it is CRITICAL that yard waste and wood debris (branches, limbs, etc.) remain SEPARATE from construction debris and household waste. FAILURE TO KEEP DEBRIS SEPARATED MAY CAUSE IT TO BE LEFT BEHIND.

Debris removal for state roads will be handled by Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT)

DO NOT BURN DEBRIS AND YARD WASTE. Burning storm debris is a violation of Jacksonville’s year-round Burn Ban. Citizens can report this violation to 630-CITY(2489) by phone, or online at http://630city.coj.net/

OTHER WASTE

"WHITE GOODS WASTE" - "White Goods" describes large appliances (refrigerators, deep freezers, etc.) Citizens can schedule pickup of these large items by calling 630-CITY.

Do NOT set out household hazardous waste (vehicle batteries, paint, chemicals). You must take those items to the Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) Facility, located at 2675 Commonwealth Blvd. Citizens can also check coj.net for future HHW remote collection events.

REMIMDER: Outdoor open burning is strictly prohibited without a permit.

What types of debris will be picked up by Solid Waste?

All standard solid waste collection rules apply with a 5-cubic-yard waste limit. Any changes or exceptions to these rules as result of the storm will be communicated via local media channels, social media, the City website (www.COJ.net) and the JaxReady mobile app.

POST-STORM SAFETY

CARBON MONOXIDE

Electric utility outages lead some citizens to use gas-powered appliances and charcoal or gas grills. However, these devices can increase the risk of exposure to carbon monoxide (CO). Carbon monoxide is a highly poisonous, invisible, odorless, tasteless gas and is highly poisonous. Depending on the level of exposure, CO may cause fatigue, weakness, chest pains for those with heart disease, shortness of breath upon exertion, nausea, vomiting, headaches, confusion, lack of coordination, impaired vision, loss of consciousness, and in severe cases, death.
 
The Department of Health-Duval recommends the following precautions to help citizens prevent carbon monoxide poisoning:
  • Do not burn charcoal or gas grills inside a house, garage, vehicle, tent or fireplace.
  • NEVER use a generator indoors, including in homes, garages, basements, crawl spaces, and other enclosed or partially enclosed areas, even with ventilation. Opening doors and windows or using fans will not prevent CO build-up in the home.
  • ALWAYS locate the unit outdoors on a dry surface, away from doors, windows, vents, and air conditioning equipment that could allow CO to come indoors. Follow the instructions that come with your generator.
  • Install battery-operated CO alarms or plug-in CO alarms with battery back-up in your home, according to the manufacturer’s installation instructions.
  • Test your CO alarms frequently and replace dead batteries.
  • REMEMBER: you cannot see or smell CO.
  • Portable generators can produce high levels of CO very quickly.
  •  If you start to feel sick, dizzy, or weak while using a generator, get to fresh air RIGHT AWAY. DO NOT DELAY.
  • If you have a poisoning emergency, call your nearest Florida Poison Information Center at 1-800-222-1222.
  • If the victim has collapsed or is not breathing, call 911 immediately.
For more information, please contact the Department of Health-Duval (904-253-1000) or visit The Florida Department of Health website (www.floridahealth.gov/) or The Florida Division of Emergency Management website (www.floridadisaster.org/index.asp).

FOOD SAFETY

Refrigerated food and power outage guidelines:
  • In most circumstances, food is safe as long as power is out no more than four hours.
  • Keep the refrigerator door closed as much as possible.
  • Never taste food to determine its safety! You can’t rely on appearance or odor to determine whether food is safe.
  • Discard any perishable food (such as meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and leftovers) that has been above
  • 40 degrees F for more than two hours.
  • Always discard any items in the refrigerator that have come into contact with raw meat juices.
For a full guide of foods to keep and discard, visit: https://www.foodsafety.gov/keep/charts/refridg_food.html.
 
Handling food during boil water advisories also requires special attention.
  • Make sure to keep soap and paper towels at all handwashing sinks.
  • Wash hands frequently with soap and running water:
    • After using the bathroom
    • Before handling food
    • When switching between raw and cooked foods
    • After eating, drinking, or smoking
    • After changing a diaper
    • Whenever hands become contaminated
    • Between changing gloves
  • Thaw foods in the refrigerator before cooking or serving:
    • Keep cold foods at 41 degrees F or below 
  • Cook food thoroughly (for a minimum of 15 seconds as indicated below):
    • Chicken and other poultry and stuffed meats - 165 degrees F
    • Ground beef and other ground meats - 155 degrees F
    • Pork, beef, eggs, and other meats - 145 degrees F
    • Once cooked, keep hot foods at 140 degrees F or above
    • Cool hot foods rapidly to 41 degrees F, or below, within 4 hours of serving
Handling Foods
  • Do not touch ready-to-eat foods with unwashed hands
  • Use utensils to handle food, whenever possible

FLOOD WATER SAFETY

Precautions to prevent possible illness from flood waters:
  • Basic hygiene is critical. Wash your hands with soap and water that has been boiled or disinfected before preparing or eating food, after using the toilet, after participating in flood cleanup activities, and after handling articles contaminated with flood water or sewage.
  • Avoid eating or drinking anything that has been contaminated with flood waters.
  • Do not wade through standing water. If you do, bathe and put on clean clothes as soon as possible.
  • Avoid contact with flood waters if you have open cuts or sores. If you cannot avoid contact with flood waters, keep any cuts and sores as clean as possible by washing well with soap to control infection. If a wound develops redness, swelling, or drainage, seek immediate medical attention. Residents who sustain lacerations and/or puncture wounds and have not had a tetanus vaccination within the past 10 years require a tetanus booster.

IMPORTANT PHONE NUMBERS & WEBSITES

City of Jacksonville – 904-630-CITY (2489); http://www.coj.net/
Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office –  904-630-0500; www.coj.net/departments/sheriffs-office.aspx
Florida Department of Transportation – 904-360-5457; http://www.fdot.gov/
JEA - 904-665-6000; https://www.jea.com/
Northeast Florida Red Cross – 904-358-8091;
http://www.redcross.org/local/florida/north-florida/local-chapters/northeast-florida
Jacksonville Transit Authority (JTA) – 904-630-3100; http://www.jtafla.com/
Traffic Information – 511; https://fl511.com/
United Way of Northeast Florida – 211; https://www.unitedwaynefl.org/
Florida Emergency Information Hotline – 1-800-342-3557; http://floridadisaster.org/feil.htm
Salvation Army – 904-356-8641; http://www.salvationarmyflorida.org/jacksonville/
National Weather Service Jacksonville – 904-741-4311; www.weather.gov/jax/
Duval County Public Schools – 904-390-2000; https://duvalschools.org/
Jacksonville Public Library – 904-630-BOOK (2665); https://www.jaxpubliclibrary.org/
Federal Disaster Assistance – 1-800-621-3362, https://www.disasterassistance.gov/

OFFICIAL SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNTS

Twitter Facebook - City of Jacksonville - https://www.facebook.com/CityofJax

Youtube - City of Jacksonville - https://www.youtube.com/c/cityofjacksonville

LinkedIn - City of Jacksonville - https://www.linkedin.com/company/city-of-jacksonville

Instagram - City of Jacksonville (@CityOfJax) - https://www.instagram.com/cityofjax/
 
For more information, visit http://www.coj.net/departments/public-affairs/social-media.aspx.
 
About the City of Jacksonville: The City of Jacksonville is the largest city by land mass in the continental United States, serving approximately 850,000 residents. Located in Duval County, City of Jacksonville leadership includes the mayor and a 19-member City Council. To learn more about the City of Jacksonville, visit COJ.net.