On Sept. 13, 2017 Hernando County along with a number of other counties was declared a disaster area. The disaster declaration has to be made by the Governor of the state affected.
The disaster designation is important because it allows Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to become more involved in the recovery efforts. The resources that can be made available are designated for the removal of debris, funding assistance for emergency services, possibly housing assistance, and more. A disaster declaration is also a necessary step to filing loss claims with FEMA.
The disaster declaration which included Hernando County was the third wave of disaster area declarations related to Irma. The first declaration came on Sept. 10, when Florida Governor Rick Scott declared nine counties disaster areas after Irma made landfall in the Keys. The counties were mostly southwest florida counties, from Hillsborough/Pinellas to Miami-Dade: Charlotte, Collier, Hillsborough; Lee, Manatee, Miami-Dade, Monroe, Pinellas, and Sarasota Counties.
The second disaster declaration was in the evening on Sept. 11 and included: Broward, Clay, Duval, Flagler, Palm Beach, Putnam and St. John’s counties. These counties are grouped in northeast Florida around Jacksonville and Southeastern Florida near Fort Lauderdale.
The third disaster declaration was on Sept. 13 and Florida Governor Rick Scott requested a major disaster declaration for Florida to include individual assistance for Brevard, Broward, Charlotte, Citrus, Clay, Collier, DeSoto, Duval, Flagler, Glades, Hardee, Hendry, Hernando, Highlands, Hillsborough, Indian River, Lake, Lee, Manatee, Marion, Martin, Miami-Dade, Monroe, Okeechobee, Orange, Osceola, Pasco, Palm Beach, Pinellas, Polk, Putnam, Sarasota, Seminole, St. Johns, St. Lucie, Sumter and Volusia counties. US President Donald Trump approved this request and this allowed federal funds to flow to these counties that included Hernando.
The disaster declaration for individual assistance was expanded to include Alachua, Baker, Bradford, Columbia, Gilchrist, Levy, Nassau, Suwannee and Union counties on Sept. 14. On Sept. 16, it was expanded again to include Dixie and Lafayette counties.