Gov. Rick Scott urges Floridians to prepare for hurricane season

Panhandle residents have said they were not prepared for the massive flooding that ravaged the region last month. Torrential rain and flooding dealt quite a blow to much of the area, prompting Florida Gov. Rick Scott to declare of state of emergency in 26 counties. Now the governor is pressing Floridians to prepare better for hurricane season in order to ensure we are all equipped come what may.

“Get ready,” Scott said, as quoted by the Orlando Sentinel. “Hopefully we won’t have a hurricane this year, but it’s much better to be prepared.”

As we discussed in this blog last month, it has been almost 10 years since a hurricane hit Florida. An unfortunate side effect of the break from serious storms has been that many Florida residents have let their guard down.

At the Orange County Convention Center this week during the Governor’s Hurricane Conference, Scott told residents that this is foolish and it is important to get and remain prepared. As many Tampa area residents are likely aware, Scott has approved a tax holiday from May 31 to June 8, during which time hurricane supplies can be purchased tax-free. Such supplies include batteries, tarpaulins and portable lights.

Floridians also need to be aware of evacuation protocols. During Hurricane Charlie in 2004 and Wilma in 2005, many people failed to evacuate promptly because they were in denial about the severity of the storms. It is better to be safe than sorry by heeding evacuation warnings.

Homeowners should also make sure that they have adequate hurricane and storm coverage under their homeowner’s insurance policies. Hurricanes can cause catastrophic damage, and your policy may not automatically cover flood and water damage and rebuilding costs. It can also be important to prepare of list of your valuable belongings in order to present this to your insurance company if your home is ever damaged. Of course, it is critical to keep in mind that if you do pursue a hurricane or storm damage claim, the adjusters are likely to undervalue the damages, so it can be wise to contact an attorney to help secure maximum compensation.

Source: Orlando Sentinel, “Florida governor approves tax holiday for hurricane supplies,” Kevin Spear, May 12, 2014