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The Florida Statutes

The 2023 Florida Statutes (including Special Session C)

Title XVII
Chapter 252
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F.S. 252.385
252.385 Public shelter space; public records exemption.
(1) It is the intent of the Legislature that this state not have a deficit of safe public hurricane evacuation shelter space in any region of the state.
(2)(a) The division shall administer a program to survey existing schools, universities, community colleges, and other state-owned, municipally owned, and county-owned public buildings and any private facility that the owner, in writing, agrees to provide for use as a public hurricane evacuation shelter to identify those that are appropriately designed and located to serve as such shelters. The owners of the facilities must be given the opportunity to participate in the surveys. The state university boards of trustees, district school boards, community college boards of trustees, and the Department of Education are responsible for coordinating and implementing the survey of public schools, universities, and community colleges with the division or the local emergency management agency.
(b) By January 31 of each even-numbered year, the division shall prepare and submit a statewide emergency shelter plan to the Governor and Cabinet for approval, subject to the requirements for approval in s. 1013.37(2). The emergency shelter plan must project, for each of the next 5 years, the hurricane shelter needs of the state, including periods of time during which a concurrent public health emergency may necessitate more space for each individual to accommodate physical distancing. In addition to information on the general shelter needs throughout this state, the plan must identify the general location and square footage of special needs shelters, by regional planning council region. The plan must also include information on the availability of shelters that accept pets. The Department of Health shall assist the division in determining the estimated need for special needs shelter space and the adequacy of facilities to meet the needs of persons with special needs based on information from the registries of persons with special needs and other information.
(3) The division shall annually provide to the President of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and the Governor a list of facilities recommended to be retrofitted using state funds. State funds should be maximized and targeted to regional planning council regions with hurricane evacuation shelter deficits. The owner or lessee of a public hurricane evacuation shelter that is included on the list of facilities recommended for retrofitting is not required to perform any recommended improvements.
(4)(a) Public facilities, including schools, postsecondary education facilities, and other facilities owned or leased by the state or local governments, but excluding hospitals, hospice care facilities, assisted living facilities, and nursing homes, which are suitable for use as public hurricane evacuation shelters shall be made available at the request of the local emergency management agencies. The local emergency management agency shall coordinate with these entities to ensure that designated facilities are ready to activate prior to a specific hurricane or disaster. Such agencies shall coordinate with the appropriate school board, university, community college, state agency, or local governing board when requesting the use of such facilities as public hurricane evacuation shelters.
(b) The Department of Management Services shall incorporate provisions for the use of suitable leased public facilities as public hurricane evacuation shelters into lease agreements for state agencies. Suitable leased public facilities include leased public facilities that are solely occupied by state agencies and have at least 2,000 square feet of net floor area in a single room or in a combination of rooms having a minimum of 400 square feet in each room. The net square footage of floor area shall be determined by subtracting from the gross square footage the square footage of spaces such as mechanical and electrical rooms, storage rooms, open corridors, restrooms, kitchens, science or computer laboratories, shop or mechanical areas, administrative offices, records vaults, and crawl spaces.
(c) The Department of Management Services shall, in consultation with local and state emergency management agencies, assess Department of Management Services facilities to identify the extent to which each facility has public hurricane evacuation shelter space. The Department of Management Services shall submit proposed facility retrofit projects that incorporate hurricane protection enhancements to the division for assessment and inclusion in the annual report prepared in accordance with subsection (3).
(d) The Department of Management Services shall include in the annual state facilities inventory report required under ss. 216.015-216.016 a separate list of state-owned facilities, including, but not limited to, meeting halls, auditoriums, conference centers, and training centers that have unoccupied space suitable for use as an emergency shelter during a storm or other catastrophic event. Facilities must be listed by the county and municipality where the facility is located and must be made available in accordance with paragraph (a). As used in this paragraph, the term “suitable for use as an emergency shelter” means meeting the standards set by the American Red Cross for a hurricane evacuation shelter, and the term “unoccupied” means vacant due to suspended operation or nonuse. The list must be updated by May 31 of each year.
(5) The address and telephone number of a person provided public emergency shelter during a storm or catastrophic event and held by the agency, as defined in s. 119.011, that provided the emergency shelter is exempt from s. 119.07(1) and s. 24(a), Art. I of the State Constitution. This subsection is subject to the Open Government Sunset Review Act in accordance with s. 119.15 and shall stand repealed on October 2, 2026, unless reviewed and saved from repeal through reenactment by the Legislature.
History.s. 16, ch. 93-211; s. 6, ch. 2000-140; s. 1, ch. 2006-67; s. 19, ch. 2006-71; s. 28, ch. 2013-15; s. 13, ch. 2021-8; s. 1, ch. 2021-19.