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Hurricane Sally Sets Her Sights on the Florida Panhandle Shuttering the Area with Immobilizing Flood

CFO Patronis Prompts Residents to Begin Claims Process Right Away

With a 100 mph wrath of wind, Hurricane Sally unleashed the full fury of a Cat 2 hurricane on the Alabama coast and Florida Panhandle Wednesday, September 16. The highly erratic storm intensified quickly and then retreated, causing it to move at a sluggish 2-3 mph pace for two days before ambushing the shoreline with 20 to 30 inches of rain and a 6-foot storm surge. Local officials are estimating the hurricane caused at least $29 million in damages in Pensacola and Escambia County.

After his Thursday, September 17, visit to Pensacola, Gov. Ron DeSantis announced that 500 National Guard soldiers were deployed to help local responders. At least 377 people have been rescued from Sally’s floodwaters. With 250,000 without power at the storm’s peak, restoring power in the area and reopening bridges are the top priorities. Three-Mile-Bridge was closed after being hit by a barge and Garcon Point Bridge was also closed due to weather conditions.

Safely Maneuvering the Aftermath

Floodwaters present a wide range of potential problems. The CDC offers the following guidelines on staying safe in flooded areas.

Stay out of floodwater.

  • Always follow warnings about flooded roads.

  • Don’t drive in flooded areas—cars or other vehicles won’t protect you from floodwaters. They can be swept away or may stall in moving water.

  • If you have to be in or near floodwater, wear a life jacket—especially if the water is rising.

  • Wash your hands with soap and water if you have been in floodwater. If you don’t have soap or water, use alcohol-based wipes or sanitizer. Floodwater can contain many things that may harm health, including germs, dangerous chemicals, human and livestock waste, wild or stray animals, downed power lines, and other contaminants that can make you sick.

If the power is out, use flashlights instead of candles.

  • If you have to use candles, keep them away from anything that can catch fire. Always stay near lit candles.

Be careful near damaged buildings.

  • Do not enter a damaged building until local authorities determine it is safe. Hurricanes can damage buildings and make them unsafe.

  • Leave your home or building if you hear shifting or unusual noises. Strange noises could mean the building is about to fall.

Stay away from power lines.

  • Watch out for fallen power lines that may be hanging overhead.

  • Stay clear of fallen power lines. Call the electric company to report them.

Protect yourself from animals and pests.

  • Stay away from wild or stray animals after a storm. Call 911 or your public health department to report them.

  • Report dead animals to local officials.

Drink safe water. Eat safe food.

  • Throw away food that may have come in contact with flood or storm water. Unsafe food can make you sick even if it looks, smells, and tastes normal. Throw away perishable foods that have not been refrigerated properly due to power outages; also discard foods with an unusual odor, color, or texture. When in doubt, throw it out.

  • Listen to reports from local officials for advice on water precautions in your home. Do not use water you suspect or have been told is contaminated to make baby formula or ice, brush your teeth, wash and prepare food, wash your hands, or wash dishes.

  • Bottled, boiled, or treated water are safe for drinking, cooking, and personal hygiene. Your state, tribal, local, or territorial health department can make specific recommendations for boiling or treating water in your area.

Wash your hands.

Good basic personal hygiene and handwashing are critical to help prevent the spread of illness and disease. Clean, safe running water is essential for proper hygiene and handwashing. Hygiene is especially important after an emergency like a hurricane, but finding clean, safe running water can sometimes be hard.

Take care of any wounds or injuries to prevent infection.

The risk for injury during and after a hurricane and other natural disasters is high.

  • Get first aid quickly to help heal small wounds and prevent infection.

Clean up your home safely.

Take steps to protect yourself and your loved ones during cleanup after a hurricane.

CFO Patronis Urges Residents to Start Claims Process Now

Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis also traveled to Pensacola to survey Hurricane Sally damage and help coordinate response efforts. The CFO participated in a briefing with local and state emergency management officials at the Escambia County Emergency Operations Center (EOC) and took part in a press conference.

Patronis announced that three strike teams from Tampa, Jacksonville and Miami have been deployed to go door to door checking houses multiple times to try to administer lifesaving aid.

In the wake of the massive flooding, Patronis said that residents affected by the storm should begin the insurance claims process now and offers the following tips on documenting flood damage and clean up:

  1. Take photos and videos of the damage, including structural and personal property damage on the inside and outside of your home, before discarding items. Remember to take photos of the insides of closets and cabinets. Your adjuster will need evidence of the damage to prepare your claim.

  2. Take photos of the serial numbers for large appliances, such as washers, dryers, and refrigerators.

  3. If possible, provide receipts to your adjuster to document damaged property for your flood claim.

  4. Keep samples of carpeting, wallpaper, furniture upholstery, window treatments, and other items for your adjuster. The type and quality of material may impact the amount of your claim.

Visit PrepareFL.com for storm recovery resources and information on the flood claims process.

Another resource available for claims guidance is HL Law Group. We can help answer questions you may have about your insurance policy.

HL Law Group is a boutique law firm that focuses its practice on property damage insurance claims. Call (855) 713-1212 or email us at info@hllawgroup.com if you have a question or a potential claim.

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If you have already retained a lawyer for this matter, please disregard this letter. DID YOUR INSURANCE COMPANY DENY OR UNDERPAY YOUR PROPERTY DAMAGE CLAIM? DID YOU SUFFER WATER, WIND OR OTHER PROPERT