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A look inside the state Emergency Operations Center

October 7th, 2016 by Mike Vasilinda

Today is the fifth day in a row the state emergency operations center has been working around the clock preparing for and now recovering from hurricane Matthew. As Mike Vasilinda tells us the people on duty there know peoples lives depend on what they do.

“The storm is still on top of us” was the message for those arriving at a shift change at the state’s emergency operations center Friday morning.

For the last five days, the states EOC has been working around the clock preparing for Matthew’s arrival.

”A request for shelter assistance” is just one of dozens of conversations we overheard.


When a tree blocks a road, a bridge gets wiped out, or someone is stranded during a hurricane, the call comes here, likely to Sam Brackett. He is the funnel for incoming requests during a disaster.

“We’ll assign it  to a branch. Once we do that, they’ll task it to the specific ESF’s to follow up on.”

There are nearly two dozen ESF’s …or Emergency Support Functions A call for a rescue would be funneled to George Cooper in ESF 4.

”Busy Day for you?” we asked.

A:”Yes sir.”

The beverage of choice here? Coffee. Coffee, and more coffee.

Virtually everyone here is working long days. We asked Richard Butgereit just how long.

Div. Emergency management

”12 hour shifts?”

:”Yes..we been working at least 12 hour shifts.”

That goes for Governor Rick Scott too. He was here at 6 AM Friday, moving from ESF to ESF to assess specific damage caused by Matthew.


“I made the following request to the Federal Government. Food. Water. tarps. generators. water pumps. Search and rescue teams” Scott told reporters at a nine am briefing that started at least fifteen minutes late.

When we asked about the people working in the room behind the glassed in conference room, Scott was more focused on the danger still at hand.

“Everybody’s showing up to to their job. Now, we’re not through this at all, there’s no victory lap here.”

Which means the center will be staffed all night Friday, through the weekend, and beyond.

Governor Rick Scott was already touring  damage in Brevard County this afternoon while the storm was still hitting Jacksonville.


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