Volume 4 Number 19
May 11, 2007

CFO SINK URGES FLORIDIANS TO BE ALERT FOR EVACUATION ORDERS

With wildfires threatening homes and communities throughout the state, Florida Chief Financial Officer and State Fire Marshal Alex Sink urged Floridians to be prepared to heed any orders to evacuate. 

“All Floridians must be on alert for possible wildfires and be ready to evacuate if ordered to do so,” said CFO Sink.  “We must all take steps to be safe and protect our homes and others, by complying with burn bans and being cautious with fire.  I can assure you that we will take aggressive action against anyone who intentionally or carelessly starts a fire.” 

The State Fire Marshal’s Office is coordinating fire and rescue operations at the state’s Emergency Operations Center, which has been activated to respond to more than 210 wildfires burning more than 86,000 acres around the state.  In addition to corralling equipment and personnel to fight the fires, CFO Sink said the Department of Financial Services, which houses the State Fire Marshal’s Office, is on standby to help homeowners with insurance questions.  CFO Sink said homeowners affected by the wildfires should take the following steps: 

  • If forced to evacuate your home, take your insurance information with you.
  • Let your agent or insurance company know your temporary forwarding address and phone number. 
  • Keep all receipts for meals, lodging and other expenses related to being evacuated and call your agent to find out if the Additional Living Expense coverage on your homeowners’ policy applies.
  • If you return to find your home damaged, call your insurance agent immediately and make emergency repairs to prevent further damage.  Document the damage and repairs in writing and with receipts and photos.
  • Maintain copies of your household inventory and other documentation, including photos, to assist the adjuster in assessing the value of the destroyed property.
  • For help contacting your agent or insurance company regarding filing a claim, or to ensure that an insurance adjuster you are dealing with is licensed, call the department's Consumer Helpline hotline at 1-800-342-2762.
  • Beware of fly-by-night repair businesses. Hire licensed and reputable service people.