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Florida Governor Rick Scott, right, gestures during a speech Monday, Nov. 3, 2014, in Clearwater, Fla. Scott is running against Democratic opponent, former Florida Governor, Charlie Crist. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

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Rick Scott: State offices closed Friday

Gov. Rick Scott directed state offices to be closed in all 67 Florida counties this Friday in preparation for Hurricane Irma, his office announced Tuesday night.

Scott also asked state employees to volunteer in the state’s emergency shelter mobilization efforts.

“Our state workforce is filled with dedicated individuals who go above and beyond every day in service to the families who call Florida home,” he said in a statement.

“Ensuring the safety of these hardworking individuals and their families is a top priority, and I am directing all state offices to be closed this Friday so our state employees can fully focus on preparing for this storm and keeping their families safe,” Scott added. “I am also asking these talented individuals to consider donating their time and effort to become a certified American Red Cross Disaster Services volunteer to help Floridians in need.”

Furthermore, he said, “I have directed all state executive agencies to authorize the deployment of any American Red Cross certified employees willing to volunteer to help in or operate shelters in response to this unprecedented storm. Agency leaders have also been authorized to grant employee volunteers training time in order to become certified if they are not already.

“We must do all we can to prepare our families and communities for any potential impact from this major weather event, and I appreciate the many volunteers who are gearing up to help our state during this critical time.”

In partnership with the American Red Cross, salaried, non-essential state employees can receive expedited volunteer certifications for disaster services so that they may assist in or operate shelters in response to Hurricane Irma impacts and preparation.

Florida law allows Scott to grant full-time, salaried state employees up to 15 days of administrative leave for emergency volunteer efforts through the American Red Cross. All Floridians can register for American Red Cross certifications at VolunteerFlorida.org.

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