Today Governor Ron DeSantis ordered the Florida Department of Emergency Management (FDEM) to start preparing for a potential state of emergency as Hurricane Elsa enters the Caribbean.
The exact path of the hurricane is not known at this point, but tropical force winds could possibly affect Southeast Florida by Sunday evening, and could make a second landfall elsewhere in Florida by early next week.
Concern of a hurricane heading for Florida is amplified by worries for search and rescue efforts in Surfside, near Miami, where search crews may be pulled off the site and there is an added fear that tropical storm force winds could bring the remaining standing structure at the Champlain Towers South down.
DeSantis said FDEM will be working on a dual tract to prepare for a possible impact of the hurricane in Florida, generally, and to make specific preparations to protect the site of the collapsed condominium building.
Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and State Fire Marshal Jimmy Patronis urges Floridians to prepare immediately. For hurricane-related resources and information, visit CFO Patronis’ PrepareFL.com website that serves as a one-stop-shop for disaster preparedness information and tips to help Floridians ensure they are prepared.
“We are closely monitoring Elsa as it just strengthened into a hurricane this morning. I’m urging all Floridians to monitor weather reports and prepare now,” Patronis said. “This storm has the potential to impact portions of the Florida Peninsula early next week, bringing storm surge, wind and rainfall. As we’ve seen in the past, storms can change course and strengthen quickly, leaving little to no time to prepare so now is the time to ensure your disaster plan is in place. Floridians must monitor the latest weather reports and visit PrepareFL.com now for important disaster preparedness resources to ensure you can recover quickly. Don’t wait until landfall is imminent, it may be too late.”
Patronis offered the following disaster preparedness tips:
Conduct a home inventory. Compile a video home inventory by using your smartphone to walk through your home and narrate what is being recorded including value or replacement costs. Email it to yourself for easy retrieval later.
Gather important financial documents. Collect all insurance, financial and other important financial documentation. In the frantic hours before a storm, it is easy to forget that the loss of important papers and documents can make recovering from a disaster more difficult. Take time now to gather your important insurance and financial documents and put them in a plastic bag or waterproof safety box for safe keeping.
Understand the flood claims process. After the storm, it is important to know the flood claims process and report the loss to your insurance agent or your insurance company as soon as possible.
The state’s Insurance Consumer Helpline,1-877-MY-FL-CFO (693-5236), is available Monday-Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. to assist Floridians with insurance issues and the claims process.