2017 Disaster Resources

Welcome!

This site is designed for internal use by 2-1-1 staff and volunteers – it is intended to be a quick reference for those looking for information and resources for individuals affected by Hurricane Irma. Look for local resources first and refer callers/texters to their local 2-1-1.

There is also information on the Texas page to help individuals affected by Hurricane Harvey and the Las Vegas shooting incident.

With Hurricane Nate developing in the Gulf of Mexico there is also a page dedicated to those who may be affected throughout the next few days.

We hope you find it helpful and that you will contribute to the collective resource by sending information, links, and resources to us by emailing hurricaneinfo@ctunitedway.org or by sending us a note here: irma.211ct.org/contact-us/

HOW TO USE THIS SITE TO FIND INFORMATION AND REFERRALS:

1. Look for local resources first. Use the links at the top of the page to go to the specific pages for Florida, Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina. On the Florida page, you can view information on a county-by-county basis.
2. Use the ‘General Information’ tabs below to find guidance, if there isn’t any information listed on the local county or state page.
3. Alternatively, use the SEARCH box below to do a quick search of the whole website. Example: a search of ‘Cape Coral’ should return the page for Lee County resources, if you aren’t sure what county a particular town is located.

HAVE INFO OR A RESOURCE TO ADD TO THE SITE? WANT TO SUGGEST CONTENT? Send us a note here: irma.211ct.org/contact-us/

GENERAL INFORMATION & RESOURCES

BASIC NEEDS (GETTING FOOD/WATER/CLOTHING)

FEEDING KITCHEN LOCATIONS: Click HERE to view a map of the mobile and field kitchens in Florida that are providing food and water.

USDA Hotline Hunger Hotline: 1-866-3-HUNGRY or in Spanish, 1-877-8-HAMBRE -- MON-FRI: 8am-8pm EST

**Hotline connects callers with emergency food providers in their communities and provides information on government assistance programs such as SNAP and WIC.

POINTS OF DISTRIBUTION (PODS): Click HERE to view a map of the locations where Florida residents can pick up emergency supplies like shelf-stable meals and water.

FEMA CRITICAL NEEDS ASSISTANCE (CNA)

FEMA is approving one-time $500 payments per household to Irma victims who have critical needs due to being displaced from their primary residence. FEMA defines a 'critical need' as a life-saving or life-sustaining item such as water, food, first aid, prescription medicine, baby formula, diapers, durable medical equipment or fuel for transportation. To apply, visit www.disasterassistance.gov, call 1-800-621-3362 or search for a Disaster Recovery Center HERE.

Who is eligible for Critical Needs Assistance (CNA)?

Individuals and households may be eligible for CNA if all of the following have been met:

  • A registration is completed with FEMA;
  • The applicant passes identity verification;
  • At registration, the applicant asserts that they have critical needs and requests financialassistance for those needs and expenses;
  • Their pre-disaster primary residence is located in a county that is designated for CNA; an
  • The applicant is displaced from their pre-disaster primary residence as a result of the disaster.

DISASTER HOUSEHOLD FOOD DISTRIBUTION PROGRAM

The Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services (FDACS) will be providing emergency food to through a FEMA funded program to counties affected most by Irma. This is a short term program to help meet food needs until the Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (D-SNAP) becomes available. See below for details.

How much food can a household receive? Individuals and families will receive one or more food packages with 10-20 food items. Households with 1-3 family members can receive 1 package per week, households with 4-6 members can receive 2 packages per week, and households with 7+ members can receive 3 packages per week.

Where can residents pick up their food package? For county-by-county locations, click on the Florida page and then click on the specific county page to get hours and locations of sites (if available) for the Phase 1 counties. Or can click here to view the list of distribution sites for the counties active in the current phase out the roll-out.

Who is eligible to receive a food package? Household living in counties that were part of the presidentially declared disaster. The program will be rolled out in 3 phases. Phase 1 will include 9 initial counties - other counties will be included in phases 2 and 3. Phase 1 counties active NOW:

  • Charlotte
  • Collier
  • Hillsborough
  • Lee
  • Manatee
  • Miami-Dade
  • Monroe
  • Pinellas
  • Sarasota

What are the counties that will be included in phases 2 and 3? Phase 2 counties will include: Brevard, Broward, Citrus, Clay, Desoto, Duval, Flagler, Glades, Hardee, Hendry, Hernando, Highlands, Indian River, Lake, Marion, Martin, Okeechobee, Orange, Osceola, Palm Beach, Pasco, Polk, Putnam, Seminole, St Johns, St Lucie, Sumter, Volusia. Phase 3 counties will include: Alachua, Baker, Bradford, Columbia, Dixie, Gilchrist, Lafayette, Levy, Nassau, Suwannee, Union.

ADDITIONAL FOOD & WATER RESOURCES

  • Red Cross Shelters: Click here to find a Red Cross shelter in your area. Red Cross shelters often have food and water supplies available to those in need.
  • Feeding America: Click here to find regional food banks and local food pantries in Florida and across the United States.
  • Feeding South Florida: Search this site to find a local emergency food provider in your area
  • Food for Florida (aka D-SNAP): The Department of Children and Families 'Food for Florida' (D-SNAP) disaster relief program provides emergency food assistance to families in need after a hurricane or another disaster, under guidance from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service. Currently, the state is not operating this program. However, to monitor the program and sign up for alerts, visit www.myflfamilies.com/fff.
DEBRIS REMOVAL & HOME REPAIRS

HOME CLEANUP HOTLINE - 1-800-451-1954

From now through October 15, 2017 - Call the number for help with home cleanup. The agencies are able, reputable and vetted relief agencies that may assist you and your neighbors with cut fallen trees, remove drywall, insulation, flooring, furniture, appliances, tarp roofs, etc. All services are free, but service is not guaranteed due to the overwhelming need.

Importantly, this hotline CANNOT assist with social services such as food, clothing, shelter, insurance, or questions about FEMA registration. Volunteers work free of charge and provide the tools and equipment necessary to complete the work.

To request help: CALL 1-800-451-1954

OPERATION BLUE ROOF

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) is installing temporary roofs through the Operation Blue Roof program. Operation Blue Roof provides a temporary covering of blue plastic sheeting to help reduce further damage to property until permanent repairs can be made. The blue plastic sheeting is installed using strips of wood that are secured to the roof with nails or screws. This program is available at no cost to eligible primary homeowners in Broward, Charlotte, Collier, DeSoto, Glades, Hardee, Hendry, Highlands, Hillsborough, Lee, Manatee, Miami-Dade, Monroe, Palm Beach, Pinellas, Polk, and Sarasota counties. Other counties may be added at a later date. Only primary residences with standard shingled roofs are eligible to receive a temporary blue roof. Metal roofs and mobile homes may be repaired as practical on a case by case basis. Roofs with greater than 50 percent structural damage are not eligible for this program. For rental property, legal permission for a blue roof to be installed must be obtained from the property owner. For more information about the Blue Roof Program, including eligibility requirements, visit Operation Blue Roof or call 1-888-ROOF-BLU.

DISASTER FOOD STAMPS (D-SNAP)

FLORIDA D-SNAP

Food for Florida (aka D-SNAP): Florida D-SNAP is now starting to take applications (as of Friday September 22nd).  For more detailed information on the specific counties open for pre-registration and the additional counties approved for D-SNAP that will be opening in the near future, visit http://www.myflfamilies.com/fff

For eligibility information, visit http://www.dcf.state.fl.us/programs/access/fff/docs/GeneralEligibilityRequirements.pdf

See below for general information.

The Department of Children and Families 'Food for Florida' (D-SNAP) disaster relief program provides emergency food assistance to families in need after a hurricane or another disaster, under guidance from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service.

Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (D-SNAP) gives food assistance to low-income households with food loss or damage caused by a natural disaster. If approved for D-SNAP benefits, you will get an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card to access them. Individuals use it just like a debit card to buy food at most local grocery stores. Because of the unique needs of disaster survivors, D-SNAP uses different standards than normal SNAP. If an individual that would not normally qualify for SNAP, may qualify for D-SNAP if you had one of the disaster-related expenses below:

  • Home or business repairs
  • Temporary shelter expenses
  • Evacuation or relocation expenses
  • Home or business protection
  • Disaster-related personal injury, including funeral expenses
  • Lost or no access to income due to the disaster, including reduced, terminated, or delayed receipt of income, for a large part of the benefit period
  • In some cases, food loss after a disaster like flooding or power outages

Visit their county page on this site or check http://www.dcf.state.fl.us/programs/access/fff to identify if their county is covered.  If it is, ask if they have access to the internet and send the link to pre-register.

Go here to identify sites where people can go apply:  http://www.dcf.state.fl.us/programs/access/fff/siteLocations.shtml.  Once people have pre-registered they'll have to go to an in-person interview on a date according to their last name.  Visit the appropriate county page for the date and location.

If people have missed the deadline, send contact info for Florida Dept of Children and Families:

Customer Call Center, 1-866-762-2237 (Florida Relay 711)
Agents available 8am to 5pm Mon-Fri

This program is not for current SNAP recipients.  If people are current SNAP recipients a supplemental benefit will be added to those in D-SNAP approved counties.  Individuals will have their SNAP allotment increased to the maximum for September (distributed on October 6) and for October (distributed on October 9).

 

TEXAS D-SNAP (see Texas page for more details)

Who is eligible? To be eligible for D-SNAP, a household must have lived in an identified disaster area (39 counties affected) on August 23, 2017, have out-of-pocket disaster expenses of at least $100, and meet the income eligibility criteria. If a resident evacuated to another city in Texas and is seeking information about SNAP or available assistance, encourage them to call the Texas SNAP Information Hotline by dialing 1-(877) 541-7905 or visit YourTexasBenefits.com. If the resident moved out of the State of Texas due to Hurricane Harvey, we recommend they contact their local SNAP office.

How much is the D-SNAP benefit? Eligible households will receive 2 months of D-SNAP benefits.

DISASTER HOUSEHOLD FOOD DISTRIBUTION PROGRAM

DISASTER HOUSEHOLD FOOD DISTRIBUTION PROGRAM

The Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services (FDACS) will be providing emergency food to through a FEMA funded program to counties affected most by Irma. This is a short term program to help meet food needs until the Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (D-SNAP) becomes available. See below for details.

How much food can a household receive? Individuals and families will receive one or more food packages with 10-20 food items. Households with 1-3 family members can receive 1 package per week, households with 4-6 members can receive 2 packages per week, and households with 7+ members can receive 3 packages per week.

Where can residents pick up their food package? For county-by-county locations, click on the Florida page and then click on the specific county page to get hours and locations of sites (if available) for the Phase 1 counties. Or can click here to view the list of distribution sites for the counties active in the current phase out the roll-out.

Who is eligible to receive a food package? Household living in counties that were part of the presidentially declared disaster. The program will be rolled out in 3 phases. Phase 1 will include 9 initial counties - other counties will be included in phases 2 and 3. Phase 1 counties active NOW:

  • Charlotte
  • Collier
  • Hillsborough
  • Lee
  • Manatee
  • Miami-Dade
  • Monroe
  • Pinellas
  • Sarasota

What are the counties that will be included in phases 2 and 3? Phase 2 counties will include: Brevard, Broward, Citrus, Clay, Desoto, Duval, Flagler, Glades, Hardee, Hendry, Hernando, Highlands, Indian River, Lake, Marion, Martin, Okeechobee, Orange, Osceola, Palm Beach, Pasco, Polk, Putnam, Seminole, St Johns, St Lucie, Sumter, Volusia. Phase 3 counties will include: Alachua, Baker, Bradford, Columbia, Dixie, Gilchrist, Lafayette, Levy, Nassau, Suwannee, Union.

EMOTIONAL SUPPORT

SAMHSA Disaster Distress Helpline (DDH): 800-985-5990 (24/7); Text TALKWITHUS to 66746; For Spanish, text HABLANOS to 66746

 

 

FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE (FEMA & OTHER PROGRAMS)

FEMA CRITICAL NEEDS ASSISTANCE (CNA)

FEMA is approving one-time $500 payments per household to Irma victims who have critical needs due to being displaced from their primary residence. FEMA defines a 'critical need' as a life-saving or life-sustaining item such as water, food, first aid, prescription medicine, baby formula, diapers, durable medical equipment or fuel for transportation. To apply, visit www.disasterassistance.gov, call 1-800-621-3362 or search for a Disaster Recovery Center HERE.

Who is eligible for Critical Needs Assistance (CNA)?

Individuals and households may be eligible for CNA if all of the following have been met:

  • A registration is completed with FEMA;
  • The applicant passes identity verification;
  • At registration, the applicant asserts that they have critical needs and requests financialassistance for those needs and expenses;
  • Their pre-disaster primary residence is located in a county that is designated for CNA; an
  • The applicant is displaced from their pre-disaster primary residence as a result of the disaster.

FEMA DISASTER ASSISTANCE & RESOURCES

How to register for assistance?

  • Register online at www.disasterassistance.gov and apply for assistance online  using this form 
  • Register by phone at 1-800-621-3362
  • Individuals who use TTY can call 1-800-462-7585. The toll-free telephone numbers will operate from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. EDT seven days a week until further notice.When an applicant registers, each receives a unique registration number. The registration number is important and should be written down and kept handy. Anyone who does not have a registration number is not yet registered.

By registering for federal assistance on www.DisasterAssistance.gov:

  • You can look up your address to find out if it is in a disaster area declared for Individual Assistance.
  • Check the status of your application and get updates by SMS or email.
  • Upload documents to support your application.

Who is eligible for FEMA assistance?

  • Effective September 10, 2017, Florida Residents with losses due to Hurricane Irma in Charlotte, Collier, Hillsborough, Lee, Manatee, Miami-Dade, Monroe, Pinellas, and Sarasota Counties may now register for disaster assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, according to state and federal officials.
  • Effective September 12, 2017, Florida Residents with losses due to Hurricane Irma in Broward, Clay, Duval, Flagler, Palm Beach, Putnam, and St Johns Counties may also apply for federal disaster assistance for uninsured and underinsured damages and losses.

FLORIDA: FEDERAL AID PROGRAM SUMMARY

The following list is a summary of key federal disaster aid programs:

  • Rental payments for temporary housing for those whose homes are unlivable. Initial assistance may be provided for up to three months for homeowners and at least one month for renters. Assistance may be extended if requested after the initial period based on a review of individual applicant requirements.
  • Grants for home repairs and replacement of essential household items not covered by insurance to make damaged dwellings safe, sanitary and functional.
  • Grants to replace personal property and help meet medical, dental, funeral, transportation and other serious disaster-related needs not covered by insurance or other federal, municipality and charitable aid programs.
  • Unemployment payments up to 26 weeks for workers who temporarily lost jobs because of the disaster and who do not qualify for state benefits, such as self-employed individuals.
  • Low-interest loans to cover residential losses not fully compensated by insurance. Loans available up to $200,000 for primary residence; $40,000 for personal property, including renter losses. Loans available up to $2 million for business property losses not fully compensated by insurance.
  • Loans up to $2 million for small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives and most private, non-profit organizations of all sizes that have suffered disaster-related cash flow problems and need funds for working capital to recover from the disaster's adverse economic impact. This loan in combination with a property loss loan cannot exceed a total of $2 million.
  • Loans up to $500,000 for farmers, ranchers and aquaculture operators to cover production and property losses, excluding primary residence.
  • Other relief programs: Crisis counseling for those traumatized by the disaster; income tax assistance for filing casualty losses; advisory assistance for legal, veterans’ benefits and social security matters.
  • For more information go to http://www.fldfs.com/division/Consumers/HurricaneIrma.htm

DISASTER UNEMPLOYMENT ASSISTANCE 

Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) is available to Florida businesses and residents whose employment or self-employment was lost or interrupted as a result of Hurricane Irma. The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity is currently accepting applications for DUA from residents and businesses in Brevard, Broward, Charlotte, Citrus, Clay, Collier, DeSoto, Duval, Flagler, Glades, Hardee, Hendry, Hernando, Highlands, Hillsborough, Indian River, Lake, Lee, Manatee, Marion, Martin, Miami-Dade, Monroe, Orange, Okeechobee, Osceola, Palm Beach, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk, Putnam, Sarasota, Seminole, St. Johns, St. Lucie, Sumter, and Volusia counties. Individuals affected in these designated-disaster areas must file DUA applications by October 16, 2017. DUA is available from weeks of unemployment beginning September 10, 2017 until ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­March 17, 2018, as long as the individual’s unemployment continues to be a result of the disaster. To file a DUA claim go to http://www.floridajobs.org/or call 1-800-385-3920. Customer service representatives are available Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time to assist claimants. For DUA claims information, call 1-800-204-2418 and choose option 2 to speak to a customer service representative.

Disaster Unemployment Assistance is available to those who:

  • Worked or were self-employed or were scheduled to begin work or self-employment;
  • Are not able to work or perform services because of physical damage of destruction to the place of employment as a direct result of the disaster;
  • Can establish that the work or self-employment they can no longer perform was their principal source of income;
  • Do not qualify for regular unemployment benefits from any state;
  • Cannot perform work or self-employment because of an injury as a direct result of the disaster; or
  • Became the breadwinner or major supporter of a household because of the death of the head of household.

TEXAS: RED CROSS FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE

FINDING MISSING PERSONS
  • Use social media to connect with family and friends
  • Use the American Red Cross' Safe and Well website https://safeandwell.communityos.org/zf/safe/add to register and post messages to indicate they are safe or to find loved ones. You can also register by texting SAFE to 78876 or get information by calling 1-800-733-2767.
FOOD SAFETY

FOOD SAFETY STEPS TO FOLLOW DURING AND AFTER A WEATHER EMERGENCY

  • Never taste a food to determine its safety!
  • Keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible to maintain the cold temperature.
  • The refrigerator will keep food safely cold for about 4 hours if it is unopened. A full freezer will hold the temperature for approximately 48 hours (24 hours if it is half full and the door remains closed).
  • Food may be safely refrozen if it still contains ice crystals or is at 40 °F or below.
  • Obtain block ice or dry ice to keep your refrigerator and freezer as cold as possible if the power is going to be out for a prolonged period of time. Fifty pounds of dry ice should hold an 18-cubic-foot full freezer for 2 days.
  • If the power has been out for several days, then check the temperature of the freezer with an appliance thermometer or food thermometer. If the food still contains ice crystals or is at 40 ° below, the food is safe.
  • If a thermometer has not been kept in the freezer, then check each package of food to determine its safety. If the food still contains ice crystals, the food is safe.
  • Discard refrigerated perishable food such as meat, poultry, fish, soft cheeses, milk, eggs, leftovers, and deli items after 4 hours without power.
  • When in Doubt, Throw it Out!

OTHER FOOD SAFETY RESOURCES

  • USDA: Consumers with food safety questions can phone the toll-free USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854); TTY, 1-800-256-7072. The Hotline is available in English and Spanish and can be reached from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (ET) Monday through Friday. Recorded food safety messages are available 24 hours a day. Consumers can also ask safe food handling questions by logging on to FSIS’ online automated response system called “Ask Karen,” on the Food Safety and Inspection Service’s Web site: www.fsis.usda.gov E-mail inquiries can be directed to MPHotline.fsis@usda.gov. Additional information about USDA’s food safety efforts can be accessed on the FSIS Web site at www.fsis.usda.gov
  • Food and Drug Administration (FDA): For information on safe food handling for foods other than meat, poultry, or egg products, call FDA's toll-free information line at 1-888- SAFEFOOD or 1-888-723- 3366. www.cfsan.fda.gov FDA emergency number, staffed 24 hours a day,
  • Centers for Disease Control (CDC): Call 1-800-CDC-INFO or 1-800-232-4636, TTY 1-888-232-6348, for information on hazards, safe clean up, and preventing illness and injury. Available in English and Spanish, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. www.cdc.gov

 

FOOD STAMPS (SNAP) INFO (REGULAR BENEFITS)

FLORIDA SNAP BENEFIT INFO

  • For detailed information: http://www.myflorida.com/accessflorida/
  • Replacement of food lost in storm: DCF is processing mass replacement for 40 percent of SNAP benefits to customers approved as of September 10 in the following 52 counties:  Alachua, Baker, Bradford, Brevard, Broward, Charlotte, Citrus, Clay, Collier, Columbia, Desoto, Dixie, Duval, Flagler, Franklin, Gilchrist, Glades, Hamilton, Hardee, Hendry, Hernando, Highlands, Hillsborough, Indian River, Jefferson, Lafayette, Lake, Lee, Levy, Madison, Manatee, Marion, Martin, Miami-Dade, Monroe, Nassau, Okeechobee, Orange, Palm Beach, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk, Putnam, Sarasota, Seminole, St. Johns, St. Lucie, Suwanee, Taylor, Union, Volusia, and Wakulla counties. Benefits could be available on EBT cards as soon as September 22. With a Mass replacement, customers do not have to submit an individual replacement request.
  • Individual food replacement requests: Recipients in ANY county may also submit a form for individual replacements of benefits. Households in affected counties have until Sept 29 to report SNAP food loss and request replacement benefits. Click HERE for the form to complete.
  • September Early Release: September SNAP benefits were released to customers (who had not already received for September) statewide on 9/7 to assist customers with preparation for Hurricane Irma’s landfall.
  • Purchase of Hot Foods: Until 9/30, current SNAP customers have the option to purchase hot foods with their EBT card at participating Florida retailers. Customers should inquire first with the store to see if they are equipped to process hot food purchases. Some stores will not be able to offer this option. It is the retailer’s decision to take part in this option. There is no list of stores who are or are not equipped.
  • Disaster SNAP (Food for Florida): We are not taking applications for D-SNAP as of 9/13. State and federal emergency officials must assess the counties with the most damage to determine where Food for Florida could take place. More information will be provided when available. See DISASTER SNAP tab for more information.
  • Recertification/Renewal of Benefits: The deadline for current SNAP recipients to complete the September 2017 renewal/recertification process has been extended from 9/30/17 to 10/31/17.
  • Using your Florida EBT card out of state: Current Florida SNAP customers can use their EBT cards in other states. If a customer evacuated for the storm, they can use their EBT card to purchase food out of state. As of 9/13 the option to purchase hot foods with EBT cards is not available in other states.
  • SCAM ALERT: The Florida Department of Children & Families is alerting Florida residents that a notice is circulating that states that anyone who is without power for at least two hours can receive $197 in food stamps.   THIS IS A SCAM!  The only assistance provided by the Department of Children & Families is for replacement of food for Florida residents currently receiving food stamp benefits.  To apply for replacement benefits, complete this form and take to your local Department of Children & Families office.
FRAUD ALERTS/INSURANCE INFORMATION

CONSUMER ALERT: Managing the Post-Storm Insurance Claims Filing Process

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Contact Info:

Contact: Amy Bogner, OIR
(850) 413-2515, (850) 590-9547
press@floir.com

Contact: Ashley Carr, DFS
(850) 529-4614
communications@myfloridacfo.com

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – As Hurricane Irma continues to impact Florida, residents affected by the storm will soon begin the process of surveying damages to their property and belongings. Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis and Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier have the following tips to help consumers as they begin the process of filing insurance claims on damaged property and belongings:

Tip 1:  Locate all applicable insurance policies. This may include a homeowners’ policy, flood policy (flood coverage is not covered under a typical homeowners’ policy and is separate coverage) and an automobile policy (may cover damage to your car from flooding).

Tip 2:  Document all damaged property and belongings. Take photos or shoot video footage before attempting any temporary repairs. When you file an insurance claim, you may be asked for visual documentation of damages. A photographic home inventory is a handy resource for this situation. A free smartphone app developed by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners called “MyHome Scr.APP.book” can help you take and store a room-by-room log of photos.

Tip 3:  Contact your insurance company or insurance agent as soon as possible to report damages. Insurance policies require prompt reporting of claims, so it is important to act as soon as possible. If you need help finding your property insurance company’s website and contact information, click here. For a list of licensed insurance agents in Florida, click here.

Tip 4:  Cover damaged areas that may be exposed to the elements in order to prevent further damage. Your insurance company may reimburse the expense of these temporary repairs, so keep all receipts. Remove water-logged and otherwise damaged items from your house to prevent the spread of mold, but document them and do not dispose of any damaged property until your insurance company adjuster has had an opportunity to survey it.

CFO Patronis’ toll-free Insurance Consumer Helpline (1-877-693-5236) can answer business and consumer-oriented insurance-related questions. CFO Patronis has launched a Hurricane Irma Insurance Resources webpage to provide comprehensive insurance information. Access the webpage by clicking on the “Hurricane Irma” button on www.myfloridacfo.com

The Office of Insurance Regulation also has additional storm-related materials online. Visit their website at: www.floir.com/Office/HurricaneSeason/hurricaneresourcepage.aspx.

Fraud Alert from the Florida Department of Financial Services:

In the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, Floridians should be aware and cautious of potential fraud, scams, identity theft and price gouging. Following a storm, scam artists and those looking to take advantage of persons in need are more prevalent and you must be more vigilant.

Below are a few tips to protect yourself from potential fraud and scams:

Home Repair

• Use reputable and licensed contractors. To determine if a contractor is licensed, visit the Department of Business and Professional Regulation’s licensee search.

• Ensure that contractors carry the proper liability and workers’ compensation insurance by visiting the Division of Workers’ Compensation website.

• Beware of contractors requesting that you pay more than half of the cost upfront.

Charitable Donation Scam

• Before responding to solicitations for donations, ensure that the charity is legitimate by reviewing the Gift Givers’ Guide.

• Contact the charity directly to determine if the person requesting the donations is an employee or volunteer.

• Request a receipt with the charity’s name, street address and phone number.

Disaster Assistance

• Beware of persons impersonating Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), state or local representatives. Official personnel should display their identification badges; should provide identification without hesitation, if asked; and say why they are in the area (i.e. surveying damage, providing assistance to residents, etc.). Representatives should not request cash for services or personal information, such as your Social Security Number, bank account information, etc.

• If you are in need of assistance from FEMA, contact the FEMA helpline at 1-800-621-3362 or contact your local emergency management organization.

• If you suspect that someone is impersonating FEMA, state or local personnel, call 911 or contact the local police department or sheriff’s office immediately.

Price Gouging

• Be cautious of businesses with inflated prices on essential items such as gas. Price gouging is prohibited and instances should be reported to the Attorney General’s Office at 1-866-966-7226.

Additional Tips:

•Be on alert! Scammers will pop up after a storm. Be on alert for them. Call the Department of Financial Services’ Consumer Helpline at 1-877-693-5236.
•Be wary of fly-by-night repair companies. A quick fix is not always a good thing. Ask to see the identification and professional license of anyone who comes to your house offering to help with repairs. You can verify a contractor’s license and check to see if there are any complaints against them by calling the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation at (850) 487-1395. Also ask for references from previous work and be sure to report unlicensed contractors.
•All legitimate contractors must carry insurance. Ask for proof of liability and workers’ compensation coverage, then verify it by calling the Division of Workers’ Compensation at 1-800-742-2214.
•Don’t rush into signing a contract. If you hire someone to make repairs, fully read all work agreements before signing. Ask questions until you fully understand the documents and ask directly whether you as the homeowner or your insurance company will be responsible for payment. Be on the lookout for language that gives the contractor the right to communicate or negotiate directly with your insurance company or language that requires all claim proceeds to be made payable to the contractor.
•If someone calls you on the phone asking for personal information, ask for a call-back number and hang up. Do not provide any information immediately. Legitimate organizations will cooperate.
•Do not post personal details on social media sites. Post to let friends and family know that you’re safe, but do not post your home address and do not advertise that you are away from home. Criminals are opportunists! They know that an empty home is an easy target!
•If you encounter suspicious activity of any kind, report it immediately! If it’s happening to you, it’s happening to someone else, too. Call our Consumer Helpline to report fraud at 1-877-693-5236.

GAS & FUEL
GENERATOR SAFETY

TIPS FOR GENERATOR SAFETY

The primary hazards to avoid when using a generator are carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning from the toxic engine exhaust, electric shock or electrocution, and fire. Follow the directions supplied with the generator.

  • To avoid electrocution, keep the generator dry and do not use in rain or wet conditions. Operate it on a dry surface under an open canopy-like structure, such as under a tarp held up on poles. Do not touch the generator with wet hands.
  • Be sure to turn the generator off and let it cool down before refueling. Gasoline spilled on hot engine parts could ignite.
  • Store fuel for the generator in an approved safety can. Use the type of fuel recommended in the instructions or on the label on the generator. 
  • Local laws may restrict the amount of fuel you may store, or the storage location. Ask your local fire department.
  • Store the fuel outside of living areas in a locked shed or other protected area. To guard against accidental fire, do not store it near a fuel-burning appliance, such as a natural gas water heater in a garage.
  • Plug appliances directly into the generator, or use a heavy duty, outdoor-rated extension cord that is rated (in watts or amps) at least equal to the sum of the connected appliance loads.Check that the entire cord is free of cuts or tears and that the plug has all three prongs, especially a grounding pin.
  • Never try to power the house wiring by plugging the generator into a wall outlet. Known as “backfeeding,” this practice puts utility workers, your neighbors and your household at risk of electrocution.
  • Remember, even a properly connected portable generator can become overloaded, resulting in overheating or generator failure. Be sure to read the instructions.
  • If necessary, stagger the operating times for various equipment to prevent overloads.
  • For more information visit the American Red Cross website: http://www.redcross.org/get-help/how-to-prepare-for-emergencies/types-of-emergencies/power-outage/safe-generator-use

TIPS FOR PREVENTING CARBON MONOXIDE POISONING

  • Never use a generator, grill, camp stove or other gasoline, propane, natural gas or charcoal-burning devices inside a home, garage, basement, crawlspace or any partially enclosed area.
  • Keep these devices outdoors, away from doors, windows and vents that could allow carbon monoxide to come indoors.
  • Opening doors and windows or using fans will not prevent CO buildup in the home. Although CO can't be seen or smelled, it can rapidly lead to full incapacitation and death. Even if you cannot smell exhaust fumes, you may still be exposed to CO. If you start to feel sick, dizzy, or weak while using a generator, get to fresh air RIGHT AWAY - DO NOT DELAY.
  • Install CO alarms in central locations on every level of your home and outside sleeping areas to provide early warning of accumulating carbon monoxide.

 

HEAT SAFETY TIPS (HOW TO BE SAFE WITH NO AIR CONDITIONING - AC)

TIPS FOR AVOIDING HEAT EXHAUSTION & HEAT STROKE

Detailed info can be found at http://www.ready.gov/heat. Below are some good reminders:

  • Slow down, and avoid strenuous activity.
  • Wear lightweight, loose-fitting, light-colored clothing. Light colors will reflect heat and sunlight and help maintain normal body temperature. Protect your face with a wide-brimmed hat.
  • Drink plenty of water regularly and often, even if you don’t feel thirsty.
  • Limit intake of alcoholic beverages. They can actually dehydrate your body.
  • Eat well-balanced, light, regular meals.
  • Stay indoors as much as possible.
  • Stay on your lowest floor, out of the sun.
  • Go to a place where you can get relief from the heat, such as air conditioned schools, libraries, theaters, shopping malls, and other community facilities that may offer refuge during the warmest times of the day.
  • Cover windows that get morning or afternoon sun with drapes, shades, awnings or louvers. Outdoor awnings or louvers can reduce the heat that enters a home by up to 80 percent
  • Avoid too much sunshine. Sunburn slows the skin’s ability to cool itself. If you are outside, use sunscreen with a high SPF (Sun Protection Factor) rating.
  • Never leave children or pets alone in a closed vehicle.
  • Do not leave pets outside for extended periods. Make sure pets have plenty of drinking water.
  • Check on family, friends, and neighbors regularly.
HOTELS & RENTALS

FEMA Assistance for Lodging (Transitional Shelter Assistance - TSA): First register for assistance at www.disasterassistance.gov. Residents may be eligible if they are displaced from their pre-disaster primary residence and unable to obtain lodging through another source. FEMA will provide eligible applicants access to a list of approved hotels in their area, and applicants may choose to stay at any approved hotel or facility identified by FEMA. The list of approved hotels is available at http://www.femaevachotels.com/index.php or the FEMA Helpline. FEMA provides applicants with access and functional needs additional assistance in locating approved hotels to meet their needs.

FloridaHousingSearch.org: Florida residents who have been displaced by Hurricane Irma may search for available housing using FloridaHousingSearch.org. Property owners and managers, you can help by adding and/or updating listing of available units. Login now, or call toll-free 1-877-428-8844 for assistance. PLEASE NOTE: Due to massive housing need, properties may be listed one day and gone the next. Floridahousingsearch.org is working with landlords to update information as quickly as possible. Let the site know if you find a rented unit so they can remove it from the list. Please call the landlord before going to see a property. Some properties may still have damage and be in repair queues.

Expedia: Through VISIT FLORIDA’s partnership with Expedia, Expedia.com/Florida has been activated to provide accommodations availability information for visitors, residents and first responders.

Airbnb: Has activated their Disaster Response Program for Hurricane Irma. This program will facilitate free temporary housing in Northern Florida and Southern Georgia to Evacuees to aid Floridians evacuating their homes and relief workers arriving to assist in response to Hurricane Irma.

Airbnb hosts in the following Florida and Georgia communities are eligible to take part in the program and list their homes for free to evacuees and emergency relief workers: • Florida: Leon County, Calhoun County, Franklin County, Jackson County, Liberty County, Gadsden County, Gulf County, Wakulla County, Madison County, Jefferson County, Taylor County • Georgia: Decatur County, Grady County, Thomas County

These $0 listings are available for the next three weeks, until September 28.

Hosts interested in listing their properties for free are being directed to follow airbnb.com/disaster, where they can opt in by clicking “I can offer my space for free”

  1. Floridians who are not currently Airbnb users are still able to take part in the program either as hosts or guests -- simply by creating a verified account on the platform
  2. In addition to the free listing price, all Airbnb service fees and state/local taxes are waived
  3. The hosts may decide how long they wish to list their homes for free within the program activation window (September 7 - 28)
HOUSING

FEMA Assistance for Lodging (Transitional Shelter Assistance - TSA): First register for assistance at www.disasterassistance.gov or by calling 1-800-621-3362. Residents may be eligible if they are displaced from their pre-disaster primary residence and unable to obtain lodging through another source. FEMA will provide eligible applicants access to a list of approved hotels in their area, and applicants may choose to stay at any approved hotel or facility identified by FEMA. The list of approved hotels is available at http://www.femaevachotels.com/index.php or the FEMA Helpline. FEMA provides applicants with access and functional needs additional assistance in locating approved hotels to meet their needs.

FloridaHousingSearch.org: Florida residents who have been displaced by Hurricane Irma may search for available housing using FloridaHousingSearch.org. Property owners and managers, you can help by adding and/or updating listing of available units. Login now, or call toll-free 1-877-428-8844 for assistance. PLEASE NOTE: Due to massive housing need, properties may be listed one day and gone the next. Floridahousingsearch.org is working with landlords to update information as quickly as possible. Let the site know if you find a rented unit so they can remove it from the list. Please call the landlord before going to see a property. Some properties may still have damage and be in repair queues.

LEGAL ASSISTANCE

From Miami Herald - September 12, 2017

Free legal assistance: A legal aid hotline is now available for those impacted by Hurricane Irma in Florida who cannot pay for an attorney. Call 1-866-550-2929. The hotline operates through a partnership between The Florida Bar Young Lawyers Division, the American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

Those who qualify will be matched with Florida lawyers who have volunteered to provide free legal help in matters including securing FEMA and other benefits, making life, medical and property insurance claims, dealing with home repair contractors, replacing wills and other important legal documents destroyed in the hurricane, helping with consumer protection matters, remedies and procedures and counseling on mortgage-foreclosure problems or landlord/tenant issues.

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/weather/hurricane/article172831711.html#storylink=cpy
POWER OUTAGES

Florida Utility Companies - Power Outage Maps/Websites

POWER OUT AGE MAP FOR ENTIRE STATE OF FLORIDA CAN BE FOUND AT: https://www.fplmaps.com/

DUKE ENERGY https://www.duke-energy.com/outages

FLORIDA POWER & LIGHT https://www.fpl.com/my-account/web-outage.html#wors/mainTab/phoneTab

GULF POWER COMPANY https://www.gulfpower.com/outages

JACKSONVILLE ELECTRIC AUTHORITY (JEA) https://www.jea.com/Outage_Center/Outage_Map/

KISSIMEE UTILITY AUTHORITY (KUA) http://kissgis.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=c132bdf4515849bfb6f745eac269ee20

ORLANDO UTILITIES COMMISSION http://www.ouc.com/customer-support/outages-and-problems

TAMPA ELECTRIC COMPANY (TECO) http://www.tampaelectric.com/residential/outages/outagemap/index.cfm?link=carousel&source=hp&q=tampa+electric

RETURNING HOME?

Tips on Returning Home from the Department of Homeland Security

  • Walk carefully around the outside and check for loose power lines, gas leaks and structural damage. If you have any doubts about safety, have your residence inspected by a qualified building inspector or structural engineer before entering.
  • Inside the house, check for things such as broken or frayed wires, natural gas leaks, spoiled food, structural damages (basement, loose and slippery boards, wet appliances (turn off electricity at circuit breaker or main fuse box), roof, foundation and chimney cracks, and other items damaged by flooding.

For further information, click on the following article posted on the Ready.gov website: https://www.ready.gov/returning-home

Street Flooding Conditions: Crowdsourced map

 

 

ROADWAYS/TRAFFIC

ROAD CLOSURES & TRAFFIC ALERTS

Call: 5-1-1
Website
https://fl511.com
Twitter @fl511_central | 
http://twitter.com/fl511_central
Text alerts:
 https://fl511.com/PersonalizedServices 

TRAFFIC SAFETY TIPS

  • Flashing red signal lights: Treat like a stop sign
  • Flashing yellow signal lights: Proceed with caution
  • No signal lights: Treat as a 4-way stop
SHELTERS

SHELTER LISTINGS

  • Irma Response Shelter Map: View here (https://www.irmashelters.org/) or text SHELTER to 52886
  • FEMA: You can use the FEMA app to find a shelter near you or text SHELTER and your ZIP code to 4FEMA (43362). Message and data rates apply.

RED CROSS SHELTERS

American Red Cross national shelter website can be accessed here. Note: Some shelters accept pets or are designed to accommodate those with special needs - please check a shelter's details before going. All Red Cross shelters are open to all, regardless of immigration status.

ADDITIONAL RED CROSS SHELTER INFORMATION

What should an individual bring to an emergency shelter?

  • BRING YOUR OWN snacks, water and bedding.
  • Photo Identification and important papers
  • Prescription medication
  • Special dietary and baby food
  • Flashlight and batteries
  • Folding chair
  • Personal care items such as toothpaste/toothbrush
  • Change of clothing
  • Cash (safely secured)
  • Quiet games or reading material

Prohibited Items:

  • Weapons
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Illegal drugs
  • Reptiles and exotic animals

Special Needs Citizens:

  • A caregiver should accompany special needs citizens
  • Photo identification with current address
  • Important papers
  • All medications in original bottles
  • Any required medical support equipment such as wheelchairs, walkers, oxygen, dressing, feeding equipment
  • Name and phone number of the physician, home health agency or hospital where you receive care
  • Special dietary needs
  • Water AND Snacks
  • Blanket(s) and pillow(s)
  • Cash – safely secured
  • Personal care items such as toothpaste/toothbrush
  • Change of clothing

Permitted Pets (In pet-designated shelters): Below is the list of animals permitted at designated pet-friendly shelters. Each family is authorized to bring up to three pets which include:

  • Dogs
  • Cats
  • Ferrets
  • Pocket pets (hamsters, gerbils, guinea pigs)
  • Rabbits
  • Birds

NO REPTILES OR OTHER EXOTIC ANIMALS ARE ALLOWED IN SHELTERS. All pets must have proof of vaccination and registration, be properly crated or caged and maintained by the owner.  NO PETS MAY BE DROPPED OFF. Although animals are kept separate from people, families must provide for their pets while at the shelter.  The following supplies should be brought for each animal:

  • Medications
  • Food and water
  • Food and water dishes
  • Plastic bags to dispose of waste
  • Kitty Litter and pan for cats
  • Current photo and id tags
  • Vaccination records
  • Pet beds, toys and grooming supplies
  • Sturdy leashes, harnesses, muzzle(s) and pet carrier(s)
  • Name and number of the animals’ veterinarian

ALABAMA SHELTER OPTIONS FOR EVACUEES

TRANSPORTATION, TRAVEL ASSISTANCE & ADVISORIES

TRANSIT

TRANSPORTATION ASSISTANCE

Uber: In the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, Uber is offering free rides: Rides are free, up to $25 a ride (up to 2 rides per person). Elderly individuals can utilize Uber for free rides across the state of Florida. Call toll-free: (844) 800-9425 to request.

How to redeem your free ride:
1.     Tap ‘Payment’ in your app menu
2.     Scroll down to Promotions
3.     Tap Add Promo Code/Gift Code (see below)

  • In Lee and Collier County you can use the code FMNSHELTER
  • In Charlotte, Hardee, DeSoto, Sarasota, or Manatee County use the code SARSHELTER
  • In Jacksonville use the code JAXSHELTER

TRAVEL ASSISTANCE FOR EVACUEES TO GET BACK HOME

  • FEMA assistance (apply online or by phone at 1-800-621-3362)
  • American Red Cross (see Texas page for assistance for Harvey evacuees; no Irma program details available yet)

HOTELS & RENTALS

Expedia - Through VISIT FLORIDA’s partnership with Expedia, Expedia.com/Florida has been activated to provide accommodations availability information for visitors, residents and first responders.

Airbnb - has activated their Disaster Response Program for Hurricane Irma. This program will facilitate free temporary housing in Northern Florida and Southern Georgia to Evacuees to aid Floridians evacuating their homes and relief workers arriving to assist in response to Hurricane Irma.

Airbnb hosts in the following Florida and Georgia communities are eligible to take part in the program and list their homes for free to evacuees and emergency relief workers: • Florida: Leon County, Calhoun County, Franklin County, Jackson County, Liberty County, Gadsden County, Gulf County, Wakulla County, Madison County, Jefferson County, Taylor County • Georgia: Decatur County, Grady County, Thomas County

These $0 listings are available for the next three weeks, until September 28.

Hosts interested in listing their properties for free are being directed to follow airbnb.com/disaster, where they can opt in by clicking “I can offer my space for free”

  1. Floridians who are not currently Airbnb users are still able to take part in the program either as hosts or guests -- simply by creating a verified account on the platform
  2. In addition to the free listing price, all Airbnb service fees and state/local taxes are waived
  3. The hosts may decide how long they wish to list their homes for free within the program activation window (September 7 - 28)

 

VOLUNTEER & DONATE

VOLUNTEER

DONATE

There are several organizations providing support roles for Hurricane victims. Funding rather than donations is most needed during disaster response and recovery. Below is a list of relief organizations and funds to consider supporting. Individuals and businesses looking to donate specific items can visit www.nvoad.org to register and offer donations.

  • United Way Worldwide has a national fund available for donations to benefit victims of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. Visit their website at http://www.unitedway.org/recovery to donate or to identify a local United Way fund to support. They also have a fund set up to help Puerto Rico recovery - donations can be made at https://www.unitedway.org/hurricane-irma/fupr-irma-maria-relief.
  • Florida Disaster Fund is the State of Florida’s official private fund established to assist Florida’s communities as they respond to and recover during times of emergency or disaster. 100% of funds raised will go toward disaster-related response and recovery; there are no overhead costs. Donations to the Florida Disaster Fund are made to the Volunteer Florida Foundation, 501(c)(3) charitable organization and are tax deductible. Go to https://www.volunteerflorida.org/donatefdf/ to donate or text DISASTER to 20222 to donate $10.
  • Salvation Army: The Salvation Army is providing food, hydration, shelter and clothing to victims and first responders. To make a donation to support their efforts, go to http://www.helpsalvationarmy.org, call 1-800- SAL-ARMY, or text STORM to 51555.
  • American Red Cross: The Red Cross is providing shelter, meals and other assistance to Florida residents affected by Hurricane Irma.  Donations can be made by phone (1-800-435-7669, English/Spanish; TDD: 1-800-220-4095) or by printing and mailing the donation form posted on the Red Cross website: https://www.redcross.org/donate/hurricane-irma-donations?campname=irma&campmedium=aspot
  • American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA): The ASPCA’s disaster response team is on the ground with search-and-rescue, sheltering and relocation teams ready to assist displaced animals in this historic weather event affecting Texas and Louisiana. Donations can be made by contacting ASPCA at 1-800-628-0028 or by visiting their website: https://www.aspca.org/news/aspca-prepares-harvey-rescue-efforts 
  • Humane Society of the United States (HSUS): The HSUS Animal Rescue Team is deployed in Texas, where they are working with local officials to transport, rescue and care for animals. Donations can be made by visiting their website:
    http://www.humanesociety.org/news/resources/facts/harvey_help.html?credit=web_hpfs2_082817_id93480558
  • IRS - Voluntary Employer Program: The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is allowing employers to elect to participate in a program where they can allow employees to forgo vacation, sick, and personal leave in exchange for cash payments made by the employer to charitable organizations providing relief for Harvey or Irma victims. Donated leave will not be included in the employee's income/wages and employers can deduct cash payments as business expenses. More details here: https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-drop/n-17-52.pdf

DONATE BLOOD

  • The Department of Health and Human Services is urging Americans to donate blood to compensate for canceled blood drives in Texas and Florida. Go to http://www.redcrossblood.org/ to find a local blood drive.
WATER SAFETY

Water Advisories: http://www.floridahealth.gov/environmental-health/drinking-water/boil-water-notices.html

WATER SAFETY TIPS

  • Use bottled water that has not been exposed to flood waters if it is available.
  • If you don’t have bottled water, you should boil water to make it safe. Boiling water will kill most types of disease-causing organisms that may be present. If the water is cloudy, filter it through clean cloths or allow it to settle, and draw off the clear water for boiling. Boil the water for one minute, let it cool, and store it in clean containers with covers.
  • If you have a well that has been flooded, the water should be tested and disinfected after flood waters recede. If you suspect that your well may be contaminated, contact your local or State health  department or agriculture extension agent for specific advice.
  • Note: For residents who can't boil water due to loss of power, officials recommend either using bottled water or disinfecting water.  To disinfect: 1) add eight drops of plain, unscented household bleach per gallon of tap water; 2) let water stand for 30 minutes before drinking or cooling with it; 3) Repeat the process, if water remains cloudy after 30 minutes.