Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis and the Department of Financial Services today are making final preparations ahead of Hurricane Irma. As the state’s lead for urban search and rescue and firefighting emergency support functions, and as the lead agency for insurance consumer services, the Department is lining up resources to assist Floridians after the storm.
“As Hurricane Irma moves closer to Florida’s shores, we’re already taking steps and making plans to assist Floridians with post-storm recovery,” said CFO Patronis. “We’re putting search and rescue assets in place, and readying our insurance experts to hit the ground running to help consumers with their post-storm claims. I urge all Floridians to finish their final preparations and prepare for Irma’s imminent landfall.”
In preparation for Hurricane Irma, the department is preparing in the following ways.
Urban Search and Rescue
- Two Florida Incident Management Teams (IMT) are mobilizing to provide overall statewide command and control for all Urban Search & Rescue (US&R) and lifesaving operations.
- A 155-person US&R reconnaissance unit comprised of FWC, DFS, OALE law enforcement officers and Florida National Guard personnel along with a Type III US&R team from New York State are staging at the Orange County Convention Center. This unit will be divided into multiple teams for rapid deployment into affected areas.
- Four FEMA Type I US&R teams are being staged at the Orange County Convention Center to support the IMT operations in the field.
- Three FEMA Type I US&R Teams are standing by at Eglin Air Force base for deployment behind the storm. Air lift capabilities are being finalized.
- One FEMA Type I US&R Task Force is staged in Tupelo, Mississippi for possible air deployment to Key West.
- Type III US&R teams from Tennessee and Louisiana will be staged in Tallahassee, and will likely combine assets and resources with Florida US&R Task Force 5, a type I team from Jacksonville that will work the western portion of the state.
Insurance Consumer Services
- Preliminary plans to host community insurance events in impacted areas are being made and insurance companies with policy-holders in the impacted areas will be invited to participate in any future on-site events.
- Reviewing opening extended Insurance Helpline hours after the storm to accommodate consumer questions.
- Rumor control: fraud investigators and insurance experts are monitoring social media and traditional news channels for any false or misleading insurance information.
For more Hurricane Irma preparedness information, visit www.myfloridacfo.com – look for the red “Hurricane Irma” button. Floridians are encouraged to save Florida’s Insurance Consumer Helpline number (1-877-693-5236) for help with future insurance-related questions and concerns.