My Florida C F O

Dear Fellow Floridians:

Did you know that most house fires occur in the middle of the night while residents are fast asleep? Most don’t, and that’s precisely why this year’s National Fire Prevention Week theme is "Hear the Beep Where You Sleep: Every Bedroom Needs a Working Smoke Alarm."Hear the beep where you sleep

More than 54,000 fires broke out in the state of Florida last year, leading to 139 civilian deaths and three firefighter fatalities. We’ve all heard or seen these tragic stories, and each one is a heartbreaking reminder of the importance of fire prevention education.

National Fire Prevention Week begins this Sunday, October 4th, and I hope each of you will take it as an opportunity to ensure your family has the proper fire prevention mechanisms in place. If you’re not sure where your family’s prevention skills stand, take this simple quiz to learn how you can strengthen your family’s response plan.

One of the easiest and most effective fire prevention tools available is a smoke alarm. They save lives each year, yet many families aren’t familiar with the location of the smoke alarms currently in their homes and aren’t checking them monthly to make sure that they work properly in the event that they are ever needed.

Take a few minutes next week to locate the smoke alarms in your home, test them, and replace their batteries if necessary. By doing so, you can reduce your likelihood of dying in a fire by half. While fire prevention is a topic of conversation in your home, run through your family’s exit plan and talk with your children about the importance of fire safety. Not only will your efforts help keep your own family safe, they will help protect the firefighters and first responders who risk their lives every day to protect our loved ones and property.

To further raise awareness about this important issue, I sponsored a resolution during this week’s Cabinet meeting marking October 4th-10th as Fire Prevention Week in Florida. You can read a copy of that resolution here. To learn more about National Fire Prevention Week—the longest running public safety observance on record—visit the National Fire Protection Association website.


Jeff Atwater
Chief Financial Officer
State of Florida

Florida’s 'Learn to Save' Challenge is underway!

Middle and high school students areLearn to Save Challenge encouraged to creatively illustrate the importance of financial literacy for a chance to win monetary prizes and have their creation displayed in their region. The challenge was designed to nurture students’ ambition to gain financial knowledge on topics like budgeting and saving, and now is the perfect time to jump start their preparation for sound financial futures.

Middle school students will create a billboard that shows how saving, budgeting or banking is important now and in the future. High school students will develop a creative 30-second Public Service Announcement video to promote financial literacy and financial preparedness. First, second and third-place winners will be chosen from each of five designated regions: Northwest Florida, Jacksonville, Orlando, Tampa, and South Florida.

Please share this information with your children, students, family and friends. For additional details, visit

Inside Florida's Bottom Line

Inside Florida's Bottom LineFlorida's Bottom Line website keeps you up-to-date on Florida's economy and finances in between quarterly editions of CFO Atwater’s economic magazine. On the website, you can find past editions, special reports, infographics and news archives that reflect the recent flow of Florida financial facts and economic attitudes.

In the 16 editions of Florida's Bottom Line magazine, Florida's business and community leaders discuss topics of current interest within their fields of expertise. Editions focus, for example, on transparency, small business, veteran-owned businesses, middle market companies, sports, aerospace and aviation, and biotechnology.

Read the current edition of Florida's Bottom Line about Florida's international trade, one of the most important elements of Florida’s economy as it embodies the global success of businesses across the state.

Florida Economic Briefs

U.S. Real GDP grew 3.9 percent in second quarter
In the second quarter, U.S. Real GDP grew 3.9 percent, significantly higher than the first quarter's growth of 0.6 percent. This is the third estimate released from the Bureau of Economic Analysis, and is a reflection of a more complete data set.
Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis

Florida’s new housing permits up 7.8 percent over the year
In August, Florida’s new housing permits rose 7.8 percent over the prior year. Higher home building permits indicate a growing supply of homes for sale in the future.
Source: U.S. Census

Stop Adult Financial Exploitation

Operation S.A.F.E.Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater invites you to participate in Operation S.A.F.E., Be Scam Smart, a free workshop for seniors, their families, and caregivers.

The Florida Department of Financial Services launched Operation S.A.F.E. (Stop Adult Financial Exploitation) as part of CFO Atwater’s On Guard for Seniors initiative. Be Scam Smart workshops help inform, empower, and protect Florida’s seniors from financial scams and fraud. If you want to make sure your savings are protected, register for this workshop and get a better understanding of how scam artists and scams work.

Be Scam Smart by learning more about:

  • The Psychology of a Scam
  • How to Spot Fraudulent Behavior
  • Common Scams that Target Seniors
  • How to Fight Identity Theft
  • Resources to Keep You Safe

Find out more about us in the About Us section or Register for an upcoming event, including the following workshops:

  • Wednesday, October 7th - Fort Pierce
    10:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.
    Havert L. Fenn Center
    2000 Virginia Avenue, Fort Pierce, Florida 34982
    Register | Directions | Flyer

  • Thursday, October 8th - St. Augustine
    10:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.
    River House
    179 Marine Street, St. Augustine, Florida 32084
    Register | Directions | Flyer