FLORIDIANS TO PREPARE FOR ERNESTO
Tom Gallagher, Florida’s chief financial officer
and state fire marshal, is urging residents and visitors throughout Florida
to stay alert to news regarding the path of Tropical Storm Ernesto and to
complete hurricane preparations.
“Our state’s experience over the past two years has highlighted the urgency
and importance of being prepared,” Gallagher said. “Take steps now to make
sure your family and your home are ready.”
In the event
of heavy storm damage, Gallagher will oversee the fire and rescue operations
at the state’s Emergency Operations Center and deployment of staff to assist
with rescue and recovery.
of Financial Services’ storm hotline, 1-800-22STORM, can assist residents in
preparing for a storm as well as dealing with damage after a storm. In
addition, the department’s website at
www.MyFloridaCFO.com contains a wealth of information to assist consumers in
getting ready for a storm and dealing with the potential aftermath. The
website includes a Hurricane Toolkit, an Insurance Checklist, and answers to
common insurance questions.
recommends property owners take these actions before a storm:
• Monitor news
for storm information and evacuation orders.
• Buy the materials you need to secure your property and minimize your
losses. Cover your windows with shutters, siding or plywood. Move vehicles
into a garage or carport when possible. Grills and/or patio furniture
should be secured or moved inside.
• Keep materials such as plywood and plastic on hand in case you need to
make temporary repairs after a storm. Keep receipts for those repairs so
that your insurance company can reimburse you.
• Inventory your household items, including receipts, purchase dates and
serial numbers. Photograph or videotape your possessions. Keep copies of
this information and your insurance policies in a safe place and keep the
originals in a safe deposit box.
• Write down the name, address and claims-reporting telephone number of your
insurance company, which may differ from your agent’s contact information.
Keep this information in a safe place and make sure you have access to it if
you are forced to evacuate your home.
• Be sure you know what your deductible is for hurricane losses.
In the event of damage, Gallagher recommends that you:
• Never use a
generator indoors or in any enclosed area including a garage, carport or
• Avoid using candles and do not use a candle or lantern near a generator or
• Make emergency repairs to protect from further damage, document the damage
and repairs in writing, and with receipts and photos.
• Immediately report property damage to your insurance agent and company.
• Maintain copies of your household inventory and other documentation,
including photos. This will assist the adjuster in assessing the value of
the destroyed property.
• Take precautions if the damage requires you to leave your home. Let your
agent or insurance company know your temporary forwarding address and phone
• Beware of fly-by-night repair businesses. Hire licensed and reputable
• If considering the assistance of a public insurance adjuster, verify that
they are licensed by calling the department’s storm hotline at
• Be sure you understand how much a public insurance adjuster is charging
and what services are included before signing any contract.
hurricane preparation tips, visit the Department of Financial Services’ web
www.MyFloridaCFO.com, and click on Hurricane Season 2006.
“Preparedness is the best defense – both for the storm and the aftermath
that could lure unlicensed adjusters and scam artists,” Gallagher said.
“But more important is to heed any evacuation orders – nothing is more
important than your and your family’s safety.”
Hurricane season continues until November 30.