Chapter 252, Florida Statutes, mandates the development of the Florida Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan (CEMP) which establishes a framework through which the State of Florida prepares for, responds to, recovers from, and mitigates the impacts of a wide variety of disasters that could adversely affect the health, safety and/or general welfare of the residents of the state. To facilitate effective operations, the CEMP adopts a functional approach that groups the types of assistance to be provided into 18 Emergency Support Functions (ESFs). Each ESF is headed by a lead agency that is expected to coordinate multiple agencies that perform similar or like functions into a single, cohesive, integrated state response effort. FDACS, the Division of Animal Industry is the lead agency for ESF17 which coordinates the state’s response efforts for animal and agricultural issues. Because of the broad and diverse nature of ESF17, a multi-agency, multi-jurisdiction coordination effort was required to assist in the coordination of resources and support from the involved agencies and organizations. This coordinated effort was formalized by the establishment of the Florida State Agricultural Response Team (FLSART). For more information on the Florida Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan visit the following website http://www.floridadisaster.org/documents/CEMP/floridaCEMP.htm.
FLSART was organized in 2004 with the participation of state, federal and professional agencies/organizations that had a role in animal and agriculture emergency response efforts in Florida. A leadership group and an advisory board made up of FLSART agencies/organizations representatives, guide FLSART’s organization. Currently, over 25 agencies/organizations participate in FLSART. For more information on SART visit their web site at http://www.flsart.org.
Chapter 585, Florida Statues, provides FDACS authority to establish, maintain, and enforce animal quarantine areas within the state, or the entire state. FDACS may restrict, regulate, or prohibit the movement or transportation of animals found, determined, or suspected to be carriers of any contagious, infectious, or communicable disease, or vectors of such disease, into, from, and within such quarantine areas, when necessary, for the prevention, control, or eradication of any contagious, infectious, or communicable disease among domestic or wild animals.
The Division of Animal Industry is responsible for responding to animal health emergencies. The United States Department of Agriculture and the division work in partnership in protecting the state from animal pests and diseases which could have major economic and public health consequences.