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Jared Moskowitz on FDEM: ‘These Folks are the Best in the Industry’

U.S. Rep. Jared Moskowitz, D-Fla., joined MSNBC‘s “Morning Joe” on Wednesday to discuss Hurricane Idalia, the state and federal governments’ bipartisan response, and the expected emergency response.

Moskowitz, a former state legislator who led the Florida Department of Emergency Management (FDEM) under Gov. Ron DeSantis, was asked about the state and federal government response.

“The governor and President Biden have a lot of experience unfortunately doing this not just on Hurricane Ian, but let’s remember this Surfside incident in South Florida and in Dade County. And so, Florida and the federal government FEMA have a good working relationship. FEMA is on the ground. They’ve been in that EOC. And they’re going to be responding as well. I mean, again, this is what they’re trained for, and this is what they do. And unfortunately, Florida has had a tremendous amount of experience. So you know, politics aside, everyone puts that aside when these events happen, and I expect to see both the White House, FEMA, Florida’s Emergency Management Agency, and the governor’s office working hand in glove in this response, as they have done many times before, and that’s what’s supposed to happen in emergency management. It’s supposed to be nonpartisan. It’s supposed to be bipartisan. And so at least I could say that’s at least one area of government is still working the way it should be,” he said.

Moskowitz also praised the FDEM.

“What’s going on now obviously is what Florida Emergency Management does. I mean, these folks are the best in the industry. They are battle-tested. They just went through obviously Hurricane Ian, and so they know what worked, what didn’t work, and then they fixed all of those issues, and that’s what happens every storm. They do after-action reviews, and then they make sure they’re ready for the next event. This obviously is a different challenge because even though they had Hurricane Irene in 2016, this is far stronger. We’ve seen record storm surge in these areas, all the way from Tampa up along the entire west coast of Florida, and so the National Guard is activated, all of the private vendors are activated, the power companies will have tens of thousands of line crews, water, ice. They’ll have MREs (meals ready to eat) ready to eat. The shelters are open. They’ll have people that, you know, people working those shelters. Medical staff will be ready to go. Search and rescue teams will be ready to go to help people who, unfortunately, may not have been evacuated, that may be in areas that are affected by the significant storm surge,” Moskowitz said.

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He also weighed in on the impact of the hurricane.

“The eye wall is still moving across the state of Florida, even though yes, this is a less populated area than where Hurricane Ian hit. There’s 160,000 people without power already, and I expect significant changes, unfortunately, to the way of life of these rural and small towns that live on the Gulf Coast,” the congressman said.


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