Highlands County Info: Water & food locations, FEMA help, curfew

SEBRING, Fla. (WFLA) – Residents in Highland County can still get water and Meals Ready to Eat (MRE) on Wednesday.

The Florida National Guard will distribute the food from 7 a.m. – 7 p.m. Each vehicle will get 2 cases of water and 1 case of MREs. Tarps are also available at all locations (while supplies last).

Highlands County Health Department (parking lot)
7205 South George Blvd

Old Winn-Dixie Parking Lot
110 Plaza Avenue
Lake Placid

Avon Park Armory – May have delayed opening due to relocation.
2700 US 27 South
Avon Park

Highlands County Fire Departments will have cases of water and meals ready to eat at the local fire departments. Please contact your local fire department for times of distribution.


Meals will be provided by Relief Now at the following sites and times:

Noon – 3 p.m.
Bountiful Blessings
820 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.

5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Campo San Jose
170 Sun N’ Lake Blvd.
Lake Placid


Individuals in Highlands County are now eligible for FEMA assistance please apply at disasterassistance.gov/.

Register with FEMA as soon as possible. If you preregistered with FEMA, you do not have to apply again. If you have phone and/or internet access, you may register:

• Online at DisasterAssistance.gov, or

• On the FEMA Mobile App, or by

• Calling 800-621-3362 (FEMA)

Applicants who use 711 or Video Relay Service may also call 800-621-3362. People who are deaf, hard of hearing or have a speech disability and use a TTY may call 800-462-7585.

• The toll-free numbers are open from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. ET, seven days a week.

• Multilingual operators are available. Press 2 for Spanish and press 3 for other languages.

The County has also set three locations to facilitate the application process:

Mobile Site
4509 S. George Blvd.

Sebring Public Library
319 W. Center Ave.
Phone: (863) 402-6716

Lake Placid Library
205 W. Interlake Blvd.
Lake Placid
Phone: (863) 699-3705

Avon Park Library
100 N Museum Ave
Avon Park
Phone: 863-452-3803
Hours: 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Please be patient as lines have been long for this process. Remember that you can complete this process by phone or the website as well.

Once you have registered, you have 12 months to let FEMA know if your insurance coverage was not enough and you want to be considered for help.

If you have registered with other organizations, you still need to register with FEMA if you want to be considered for FEMA assistance.


  • For informational updates text “HCIRMA” to 888777.
  • For information please call 863-385-1112. The informational line is open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Current shelter population is 32.
  • There is no power to approximately 10 percent of county residents.

The Board of County Commissioners extended the emergency declaration for another week, they have also waived landfill tipping fees for yard debris until Tuesday, September 26.

There is a curfew in place from midnight until 7 a.m.


Garbage collection is on its regular pick-up schedule. Please have carts to the roadside by 7 a.m.

Recyclables will not be picked up this week, service will resume next week.

Storm debris cleanup has begun in some of the hardest hit areas. Cleanup crews will be working seven days per week to remove storm debris from the public rights-of-ways.

Make sure to separate vegetative debris from construction debris and place piles away from any obstructions such as phone boxes, mail boxes telephone poles, etc. as the contractors will be using mechanical equipment to load the material. There are no requirements for bundling or size limitations.

It is very important not to place debris in bags. Debris placed in bags will be collected by the regular hauler on your scheduled day/week for yard debris.


The Florida Department of Health in Highlands County advises residents living in homes with private wells affected by flood waters to take precautions against disease-causing organisms that may make their water unsafe to drink.

Do not use water from your well until any flood waters around it have receded and your water has been tested.

To know if your water is safe, have your water tested by a certified laboratory for coliform bacteria. To find a certified laboratory, visit the following website:

https://fldeploc.dep.state.fl.us/aams/index.asp  or contact the environmental health office in Sebring at 863-402-6550.

You will need to pick up a water testing kit and instructions at the environmental health office at 501 South Commerce Avenue in Sebring. During this emergency, no fee will be charged for testing.

For further information, go to http://www.floridahealth.gov/ or contact the Environmental Health Division in Sebring at 863-402-6550.


The Florida Department of Health in Highlands County reminds residents to avoid contact with stray or wild animals. After storm events, animals may be lost, frightened, or hurt, and more likely to bite.

To avoid being bitten:

  • Do not approach stray pets or wildlife
  • Do not feed or attempt to pet or handle stray pets or wildlife
  • Do not disturb an animal that is sleeping, eating, or caring for its young
  • If a strange animal walks towards you, stay calm and slowly move away
  • Dogs are more likely to bite other dogs than people. When walking your own dog, avoid areas where free-roaming dogs may be present.
  • Do not make eye-to-eye contact with a stray or aggressively-acting dog
  • Report stray dogs to the sheriff’s office 863-402-7200

If you are bitten by an animal and need emergency help, go to a hospital or medical center, or call 911.


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