Feds recall some furloughed workers to help Florida before Tropical Storm Karen

5:35 PM, Oct 4, 2013   |    comments
Gov. Rick Scott meets with emergency workers at the state Emergency Operations Center on Friday.
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- The state of Florida is preparing to respond to any problems from Tropical Storm Karen and some furloughed federal workers are being recalled to help out.

Emergency workers are gathered now at the state Emergency Operations Center in Tallahassee.

They are in contact with counties and making sure state resources are ready to go if the call for help comes.

Gov. Rick Scott was briefed on the situation Friday afternoon and he met with staffers in the Emergency Operations Center.

The governor said he talked with Federal Emergency Management Agency Director Craig Fugate and was assured the government shutdown would not diminish Florida's ability to respond to the storm.

Scott said the feds have approved the state's request to recall about 30 furloughed military technicians to help the Florida National Guard.

But Scott is frustrated with the confusion caused by the government shutdown.

"I feel sorry that our citizens are sitting here because of this government shutdown and have to worry about whether the federal government is going to be ready or not. But I want to assure everybody that we're not going to let a government shutdown in Washington D.C. affect our emergency response in Florida. We're clearly going to do the right things to make sure our citizens are safe."

The government shutdown forced furloughs for nearly 1,000 military technicians assigned to keep the National Guard's equipment operating. Scott said the recalled technicians are heading to Florida now.

He said his main concern is helping keep Floridians safe in the storm if it impacts the state.

"We have a great emergency response team in this state. We're the best in the country. We're perceived to be the best in the country. When I spoke to Director Craig Fugate, he talked about how well Florida is prepared usually, so we have the right emergency response team and we're going to do the right thing."

Gov. Scott is urging citizens to be vigilant, watch the storm's progress, be prepared for flooding, storm surge along the coast and downed electrical lines.

Dave Heller

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