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My Florida C F O

Dear Fellow Floridians:

In my role as Florida’s State Fire Marshal, I strive to protect the people of our state from fire-related dangers. This month, which is Campus Fire Safety Month, I am helping raise awareness among college students about the steps they can take to stay safe on their campuses and in their dorms or apartments.State Fire Marshal Badge

The leading causes of campus-related fires include arson, careless smoking, unsafe cooking, unattended candles and overloaded extension cords, power strips and outlets. Fire sprinkler systems and smoke alarms offer the greatest level of protection against these dangers because of the early warnings they provide and their ability to help extinguish flames before fire personnel arrive. Unfortunately, since January 2000, at least 166 people have died in campus-related fires occurring in buildings where the fire safety systems have been compromised or disabled.

Make sure your fire safety system is operating properly, have a fire exit strategy before an emergency occurs and remember to take the stairs instead of the elevator to avoid getting trapped during a fire. Smoke can be as deadly as fire. Additionally, don’t wait to learn if an alarm you hear is real or a test. Protect yourself and go to a safe place immediately.

According to the United States Department of Education, there are approximately 18 million students enrolled in colleges and universities across the country. By reminding our students about basic fire safety, we can significantly reduce the risk of losing one of these precious lives.

Read the Cabinet resolution I sponsored for Campus Fire Safety Month here.

Jeff Atwater
Jeff Atwater
Chief Financial Officer
State of Florida

News of Interest

Winter Haven News Chief: Property Insurance: Atwater Is Public's Ace in Hole

Associated Press: NASA relaunches Florida manned space program with private vendors

Miami Herald: Building boom powers South Florida employment

Gainesville Business Report: Sid Martin Biotech Incubator wins national excellence award

Orlando Sentinel: Orlando area sees surge in women technology entrepreneurs

Florida Economic Briefs

Florida gains 22,700 jobs in August
Employment is up 2.7 percent from this time last year, well above the national average of 1.8 percent. This comes despite the recent increase in the unemployment rate (6.3 percent), which is higher than the national average (6.1 percent).
Source: Wells Fargo

Florida’s housing market saw higher median prices and increased closed sales in August
According to a recent report from Florida Realtors, closed sales of single-family homes are up 4.2 percent from August of last year. The median price for single-family homes ($181,000) increased by 3.4 percent from this time last year and inventory was at a 5.5 months’ supply.
Source: Florida Realtors

Florida's Bottom Line - Small Business

Florida's Bottom Line - Summer 2014Small businesses are the backbone of Florida’s economy, which is why we are focused on cultivating an environment where they can continue to thrive. Florida is home to 2.3 million small businesses, which constitute nearly 99 percent of our state’s employers. These businesses are truly the heart of Florida’s economic lifeblood, employing one-in-every three working Floridians and creating nearly two-thirds of new private sector jobs statewide.

This edition of Florida’s Bottom Line highlights why Florida's small businesses must continue to grow, prosper and remain in our state for our economy to thrive. Inside, you will find keen insight from small business experts as well as a wide array of helpful resources for your small business.

Read the small business edition of Florida's Bottom Line here.

Fostering Financial Prosperity

This special issue of Florida’s Bottom Line offers an overview of the Department of Financial Services’ transparent, fiscally-sound and consumer-oriented accomplishments since 2011.

Fostering Financial Prosperity

Spanish Be Scam Smart Workshop Dates

Family Foundations Virtual Financial CityIn honor of National Hispanic Heritage Month, which runs from September 15 to October 15, 2014, a new initiative has been launched to promote financial literacy and fraud prevention in Florida’s Hispanic communities.

The Family Foundations initiative is part of Your Money Matter$,, which provides information on a variety of financial topics to Florida consumers.

The Operation S.A.F.E workshops and the accompanying website,, have already helped more than 12,500 Florida seniors protect themselves from becoming victims of financial fraud. Operation S.A.F.E. (Stop Adult Financial Exploitation) Be Scam Smart workshops in Spanish will be offered throughout Central and South Florida.

Spanish Be Scam Smart Workshop Dates and Locations:

  • Tuesday, October 7 in Miami, Florida
    Little Havana Nutrition Center from 10:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
    700 SW 8th Street, Miami, FL 33130

  • Wednesday, October 8 in Hialeah, Florida
    Goodlet Park Senior Center from 10:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
    900 W. 44th Street, Hialeah, FL 33012