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CFO Sink, Touring Storm-hit Area, Provides Update on Search Efforts, Location of Consumer Assistance Sites


CONTACT:  Tara Klimek or Nina Banister
(850) 413-2842   
TALLAHASSEE—Florida's Chief Financial Officer and State Fire Marshal Alex Sink, who this afternoon is touring the storm-ravaged Central Florida area with Governor Charlie Crist and Attorney General Bill McCollum, said search and rescue crews are reporting they have completed a primary search of impacted areas and are now conducting secondary searches. 
CFO Sink also said that the Department of Financial Services, Division of Consumer Services, is now traveling into the area to set up mobile consumer assistance units in The Villages, Lady Lake, DeLand and Port Orange and expects to have those operating by 8 a.m. Saturday, and will be open 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday. The department's storm hotline, 1-800-22-STORM (1-800-227-8676) will remain in operation on Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
"The damage is widespread and significant," CFO Sink reported as she toured the area.  "But our department is geared up to respond to this kind of devastation and we will be there for as long as it takes to make sure these storm victims get the help they need."
The State Fire Marshal's office, which coordinates search and rescue and fire operations when the state's Emergency Operations Center is activated, will continue to monitor recovery efforts and support local agencies, CFO Sink said.   In the meantime, she said consumer service specialists have been cleared to move in and are en route to the area to set up mobile assistance units in the following locations:
1751 Dunlawton Avenue
Port Orange
The Laurel Manor Recreation Center
Highway 466 and Buena Vista Boulevard
The Villages
Villages Elementary School
695 Rolling Acres Road
Lady Lake
Victoria Square
South Woodland Blvd.
State Road 17-92 and County Road 15A
A Paisley site is expected to be located on Saturday.
Consumer specialists from the Department of Financial Services who will staff the mobile consumer assistance units will assist consumers with contacting their insurance companies and getting insurance claims filed.  Citizens Property Insurance Corp. will have representatives at each site, and other insurance companies are expected to join.
As a statewide elected officer of the Florida Cabinet, Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink  oversees the department of Financial Services, a multi-division state agency responsible for management of state funds and unclaimed property, assisting consumers who request information and help related to financial services, and investigating financial fraud. CFO Sink also serves as the State Fire Marshal.