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Miami, FL – During a visit to the Miami-Dade County Emergency Operations Center (EOC) this morning, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) urged Florida residents to immediately make preparations as Hurricane Matthew bears down on Florida. Rubio also provided advice regarding homeowners insurance and asked employers in both the public and private sectors to ensure their employees have ample time today to prepare for the storm.

His speech can be watched here and a downloadable broadcast quality version is available for TV stations here. A partial transcript of Rubio’s remarks is below.

U.S. Senator Marco Rubio

Press Conference on Hurricane Matthew

Miami-Dade County Emergency Operations Center (EOC)

October 5, 2016

https://youtu.be/l6SIR56m0cY 

[I was saying how blessed we are] for the men and women who work at the National Hurricane Center and the hard work that they're doing. And we're seeing that come to fruition as those capabilities expand. I think the message that everyone's consistently delivering is the one that I want to bring to bear here as well.

Number one is, if you live anywhere on the east coast of Florida and up into the central part of the state, you need to understand that here over the next 24 hours, the weather is going to deteriorate rapidly. Don't focus so much on the cone as you should on the fact that here, over the next few hours, the winds are going to begin to pick up, the rain is going to come in and you need to be prepared for what that means. You need to be prepared for the fact that even if you're not within the cone as you see of the hurricane projection, you're going to have tropical storm-level winds that really are a public health threat to people who are not prepared. And so I would encourage everyone on the east coast of Florida to prepare for the storm as if the cone was headed right for you. And if you are over prepared and it passes and it doesn't impact you, nothing has been lost. If, however, it catches us by surprise, if there’s any change in the track at the last minute, you will not have the capability to move quickly.

I want to take this opportunity to encourage both public and private employers to consider allowing employees to go home a little earlier today. Sundown, on the east coast, is going to be around seven, 7:15 p.m. So if people have to put up shutters, they’ve only got a handful of hours to do it.

I would encourage homeowners to look at their insurance policies. Many people don't realize that their home is insured as a home with shutters. If you do not use these shutters and you suffer damage, you may not be covered, depending on your insurance policy.

So I hope employers will consider doing that, allowing employees to go home a little earlier today so they can make preparations to secure their homes as well.

Obviously from the federal perspective, we’re interested in three key things: number one - the Coast Guard is monitoring all of our ports. These ports, in many cases, are the way we get fuel into our stations and other products into our stores. And I know they’re doing an excellent job of keeping an eye on that. At some point here over the next few hours, these ports will close and that will eventually play out over the next couple days.

The second thing is we are in contact with the Army Corps of Engineers, which manages Lake Okeechobee, which is a big part of the way we manage water in Florida. And, of course, always concerned about some sort of event that would breach the dike at Lake Okeechobee, the impact that could have south of the lake. And the water management issues it can create beyond. They assure us that while the levels are uncomfortably high, they have a plan both to manage it and to mitigate any unforeseen circumstances.

The third is we've been in contact with local governments about being prepared to present, as necessary, once a declaration is made, for the FEMA process. We are still today dealing with FEMA reimbursements that go back a decade. And we want to make sure that none of our local governments find themselves in a situation where they have a problem getting reimbursed by FEMA. So we again are going through that process and ensuring that all of our local governments are prepared for their FEMA claims.

But I go back to the point I started with and that is, no matter where you live on the east coast of Florida, you are going to be impacted by either a tropical storm or hurricane-force winds over the next 24 to 36 hours. You only have a handful of hours to prepare. If you have to put up manual shutters, not the accordions, you only have a handful of hours to do that now. And I would encourage employers, both public and private, to consider allowing employees to have adequate time to get home and complete that process.