Although Tropical Storm Alberto gave us an early preview last weekend, the start of the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season officially began Friday, June 1. Following active seasons the past couple of years — especially last year’s season which saw Hurricane Irma cause widespread damage across most of the state — officials are warning Floridians to get prepared.
Attorney General Pam Bondi, whose office handles price gouging complaints when a state of emergency is declared by the governor during a hurricane, released her 2018 Hurricane Preparedness Guide to prepare for a storm or common scams that could arise in the aftermath.
In addition to the basic tips of stocking up on supplies such as water, non perishable food, flashlights and batteries, and knowing evacuation routes, Bondi urges Floridians to be aware of price gouging if a storm were to hit Florida this year.
“During the past two hurricane seasons, multiple storms struck Florida leaving debris and flooding throughout our state. I am calling on all Floridians to start preparing for the 2018 Atlantic Hurricane Season now, to protect family and property,” said Bondi.
Florida law prohibits the unconscionable increase in prices in the rental or sale of essential commodities such as lumber, ice, water, generators and shelter once a state of emergency has been declared.
In addition to stocking up on hurricane supplies, Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis is advising Floridians to have their financial records in order and secured in a dry location. Patronis encourages homeowners to review insurance policies to make sure they are protected for the new hurricane season. Consumers should call 1-877-MYFLCFO for any insurance related questions.
Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, whose department helps provide food and water to hurricane impacted areas and provides care for animals and pets during storms, says it’s critical for Floridians to be ready.
“As Floridians, we understand the threat of hurricane season all too well,” said Putnam. “It’s imperative that Floridians have a plan in place to protect their families, homes and businesses this hurricane season.”
Putnam says that includes having a plan for your pets in the event you have to evacuate and knowing which shelters accept pets.
June 1 also marks the start of this year’s hurricane preparedness sales tax holiday.
This year’s tax holiday runs through June 7. It’s designed to encourage Floridians to prepare for the season by offering tax breaks on such hurricane supplies as flashlights, batteries and generators.
Among the items covered by the sales tax holiday on hurricane supplies are generators under $750, radios under $50, gas tanks under $25, batteries and coolers under $30, and waterproof sheeting under $25.
For a complete list of items that are covered by the sales tax holiday, click here.