Search and rescue efforts continue in southwest Florida

Florida – Friday, September 30, 2022: More than 700 people have been rescued in Charlotte & Lee counties since search and rescue operations began Thursday morning.

There are currently 42,000 linemen responding to the more than 2.5 million reported power outages. They have already restored power to over 200,000 accounts in Southwest Florida.

First Lady Casey DeSantis also announced that donations have been made to the Florida Disaster Fund, surpassing $10 million in just 24 hours after it was activated.

The Florida Disaster Fund is the official private fund of the State of Florida established to provide financial assistance to our communities as they respond to and recover from an emergency or disaster. In partnership with public, private, and other nongovernmental organizations, the Florida Disaster Fund supports response and recovery activities. To contribute, go to or text DISASTER to 20222.

The federal government has also added the following counties to major disaster declaration, meaning they will receive individual assistance and 100% Category A (debris removal) funding for 30 days: Orange, Osceola, Seminole and Polk.

SEE a video of the devastation in Lee County taken by the Lee County Sheriff’s Helicopter Unit HERE >

Search and rescue

  • As of 1 a.m. Thursday, search and rescue operations have been underway in response to Hurricane Ian. Urban Search and Rescue Team 2 was the first on the scene and the Coast Guard performed dozens of rescues overnight. There are 8 USAR teams with over 800 team members performing search and rescue.
  • As of 2 p.m. Thursday, more than 700 people have been rescued in Charlotte and Lee counties since SAR operations began this morning.
  • Task Force 1 Missouri’s Disaster Situational Assessment and Reconnaissance (DSAR) team is deploying to Florida under the Emergency Management Assistance contract to support search and rescue efforts. urban rescue and incident assessment.
  • A Florida Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) team deployed to Central Florida to support the state’s USAR operational forces and incident assessment.
  • The National Guard and Coast Guard land helicopters on barrier islands to perform search and rescue.
  • Search and rescue teams have gathered at the Fort Myers Sports Complex and have been conducting operations since Thursday morning.
  • Members of the Florida National Guard are conducting awareness and incident assessment missions in Sarasota, DeSoto, Charlotte, Collier and Lee counties this morning. We anticipate that throughout the day, the Florida Guard will be engaged in a multitude of missions, including search and rescue and route clearing operations.
  • Wednesday evening, Florida National Guard Brig. Gen. Sean Boyette, commander of Task Force Florida, was appointed as Dual Status Command (DSC) commander in anticipation of the assignment of Title 10 active duty forces to assist in recovery operations.
  • Following Governor DeSantis’ authorization, a total of 5,000 Florida Guardsmen were activated on state active duty for Hurricane Ian response operations. Up to 2,000 guards from neighboring states are also activated to help.

Brandon D. James