Fire: What To Know

Disaster Remediation: Readiness - Response - Recovery


Be Prepared and Plan ahead for wind and water damage mitigation.

Florida has exposure to the risks of tornados, floods and hurricanes. Planning for these catastrophes is one of the most important things a home or business owner can do. 

Safeguarding your life is the most important thing you can do, before, during and after a disaster.  Here are some tips:

Getting Ready:

  • If you have not purchased homeowners insurance, you should arrange to do so as soon as possible. A homeowners or renter's policy is your protection against a devastating loss. Talk with the insurance agent or agents about the options you have in selecting a policy.
  • Remember, flood and hurricane damages are not covered by basic homeowners and other residential policies. If you live in an area prone to flooding you will need to buy a federal flood insurance policythrough your agent to cover almost any flood damages.
  • Review your insurance policy each year to make sure coverage is adequate.
  • Prepare a detailed inventory of your household furnishings with photographs of each room in your home. Make a list of other valuables and equipment that don't appear in the photos. Put these materials in a safe place, such as a safe deposit box.
  • Have a plan of action. Select a shelter/location. Make a list of important telephone numbers and know how to contact family members. Remember to include your insurance agent and insurance company.


Water damage:

Look around your house and yard. Is there anything that might become airborne in strong winds (container plants, hanging baskets, tools, lawn furniture, etc.)?

  • Make a list of things that need to be brought inside and where to put them.
  • Make a list of things that need to be tied down (boat on a trailer).
  • Buy the necessary equipment (anchoring devices, rope, etc.).
  • Estimate how long it will take to secure things. These two lists are now part of your family’s emergency preparation. If you live on a barrier island or on the coast, plan to cover your windows with 5/8 inch exterior-grade plywood, screwed to the reinforced part of the window frame.
  • Measure and cut the pieces.
  • Mark which covers go over which window or gable vent.
  • Pre-drill screw holes every 18 inches.
  • If you have a gable vent, you may want to cover this space with plywood. Wind, water and sand can enter through the space and cause considerable damage. Make the plywood covers now and store them. If you wait until you’re under a storm watch, you may run out of time and the building supply store may run out of materials. Masking tape may reduce shattering of broken glass, but won’t keep glass from breaking.


Which items could you raise on blocks or move to a higher floor or attic?

  • Get the blocks (concrete, not wood) and store them.
  • Learn how to disconnect your appliances.
  • List the things you want to save in the order of their importance to you.
  • Move cleaners, insecticides, and fuels to high shelves. Don’t store chemicals under the kitchen or bathroom sink or on the garage floor. What important papers and documents, photo albums, and other irreplaceable items are stored in low cabinets or shelves or on the floor in the closet?
  • Move your important papers now or add their location to the disaster plan list so you’ll remember to move them when the time comes. Really important documents, such as birth and marriage certificates, mortgage papers, insurance policies, etc., and should be kept in a safety deposit box. Other important papers can be kept at home in waterproof packets. Remember to include them in your disaster plan. A waterproof and fireproof storage container is even better. In a catastrophic disaster, the official depository may be damaged or closed. Keep your household inventory list (for insurance), along with photos and video documentation, with these other important papers.


If a hurricane may be a threat

  • Change emergency drinking water supplies if older than 6 months. Store 1 gallon per person per day. Prepare a 3-day supply of water.
  • Update phone numbers, addresses, meeting locations, etc., in your family disaster plan.
  • Fill the car’s gas tank. • Keep a tire repair kit, small shovel, and maps in the car.
  • lf you have a home garden, harvest all the vegetables that are ripe or close to being ready. (The crop may be destroyed by wind. Vegetables exposed to floodwaters must be discarded.)
  • Start bringing unsecured items indoors or tie them down. (Use your list.)
  • If you think your house may flood, locate concrete blocks for raising furniture and appliances. Water may wick up the blocks, so put plastic between the blocks and articles placed on top.
  • Update the first aid kit.
  • Buy batteries for portable radio and flashlights.
  • Locate flashlights or battery powered lanterns.
  • Fill necessary prescriptions.
  • Check sanitary supplies (toilet paper, towelettes, soap, liquid detergent, personal hygiene items, and plastic garbage bags with ties).
  • Get cash from your bank account.
  • Check your food supply. Make sure you have some packaged foods that can be prepared without cooking.
  • Know where your important papers are. Pack them in waterproof containers or take them with you if you evacuate.
  • Move all valuables to higher levels in your home.
  • Move boats and trailers close to the house. Fill the boat with water to weight it down and anchor it to the ground.
  • Check materials on hand for emergency repairs (tarp, extra plywood, etc.).
  • Buy several inexpensive cameras to take pictures of damage.


If a hurricane is a threat

  • Keep the radio and television tuned for the latest information, or go to on the Internet.
  • Fill refrigerator and freezer with containers of water or ice. Use clean plastic jugs. (If you plan to use the water for drinking, do not use milk containers.)
  • Fill your bathtub(s) with water for cleaning and flushing.
  • If you live on a barrier island or in a coastal area, install your window panels and gable vent covers securely. A poorly installed cover can cause more damage than no cover at all.
  • Close and lock windows and doors so wind vibrations will not open them.
  • Pull curtains and draperies over unprotected glass areas to prevent injury from flying glass. Tape won’t keep the glass from breaking, but it may help restrain broken glass.
  • Brace the garage doors. If you decide to evacuate
  • Leave early in daylight if possible.
  • Turn off the water supply main valve.
  • Leave the refrigerator and freezer on.
  • Tell a neighbor and someone out of town (or away from the disaster) when you’re leaving, how you’re traveling, where you’re going, and who is with you.
  • If you can’t evacuate your pets, put them on the highest level of your home. Do not crate or chain animals, as that will leave them no means of escape. Take your evacuation supplies
  • Drinking water (1gal/ person/day)
  • Nonperishable foods requiring little or no cooking and no refrigeration
  • Special foods for family members (baby, elderly, those on special diets)
  • Hand-crank can opener
  • Prescription medicines and medical devises (pacemaker, hearing aid, etc.)
  • Clean clothing and underwear
  • Towels, toiletries (soap, toothbrush, toothpaste, hairbrush, deodorant, etc.)
  • Extra set of car keys
  • Credit cards, cash, travelers checks
  • Special items for infants, elderly or family members with disabilities (diapers, wipes, walker, cane, etc.)
  • Identification (which may be needed to return to your property)
  • Flashlight with extra batteries and bulbs
  • Portable radio
  • First aid kit
  • Paper plates, cups, utensils, etc.
  • Toilet paper
  • Sleeping bags and blankets Return home only after authorities indicate it is safe.


If you stay at home during a hurricane

  • Stay indoors in an inside room, away from doors and windows.
  • Stay away from telephones electrical outlets and water pipes as they can conduct lighting.
  • Do not go out into the brief calm as the eye passes over.
  • If power goes off, turn off major appliances to avoid a surge when power is restored.
  • Turn off electricity if flooding begins. If your house is damaged, what supplies will you need for emergency repairs?
  • Duct tape for securing broken windows
  • Masking tape
  • Extra shutter fasteners and bolts
  • Drill and screwdriver bits and adaptor for bolts for installing shutters
  • 1/2” CDX exterior plywood and hardware (1/4” machine screw anchors or lead shields, large deep lag bolts, roofing nails and tin tabs) for securing windows and patching holes in the roof
  • Roofing tar and tarpaper (or self-adhesive roofing paper)
  • Plastic covering (or tarpaulin, visqueen, canvas) for large holes in the roof, broken windows, making tents and to cover furniture
  • Hammer and nails
  • Screwdrivers
  • Razor knife
  • Axe or hatchet and handsaw
  • Crowbar
  • Work gloves


Suggestions for individuals whose property was damaged by severe weather:

  • Take proper safety and health precautions. Check to see if anyone is injured. Call 911 or your local authorities if necessary, and render assistance until help arrives. Be aware of all potential hazards such as broken glass and downed power lines. When it is safe, try not to leave your property unattended. Make sure water is safe to drink and food is not spoiled.
  • Contact your agent and/or insurance company about damage. Keep a record of the time, date, topic and name of the person you talk to every time you call. If you cannot reach your agent/company after a reasonable period of time, considering the damage (downed electric and phone lines, for example, make communication very difficult), contact the Insurance Consumer Hotline at 1-800-726-7390.
  • Your insurance agent or insurance company can tell you whether your policy covers living expenses until repairs are made to your home. For example, many homeowners policies provide for temporary lodging and meal expenses up to 20 percent of the insured value of your home, if they are damaged.
  • You should take reasonable steps to protect your property from further loss or damage, or face the prospect that your insurer will reduce or deny your claim. Make temporary repairs and keep receipts for all materials and labor expenses.
  • Survey the damage and take pictures if possible.
  • Make a list of all personal property destroyed or damaged. Note the approximate date, price and place of purchase and attach any sales receipt you may have. The adjuster will ask you for this information.
  • Your insurance company should send its adjuster to your property. Make sure the adjuster has identification. Please remember that insurance companies pay the adjusters and you should not be asked for any payment.
  • A "public adjuster" - a person licensed by the state may offer to represent you in claim negotiations with your insurer. Public adjusters will seek part of your settlement as payment for their services. You are not required to hire a public adjuster to file a claim. Generally speaking, consider hiring a public adjuster only after your insurer makes a settlement offer and when you anticipate any settlement increase obtained by the public adjuster will exceed the extra cost.


How can we help with your claim?

You can call One Call Property Services Inc. for assistance - (772) 223-8400. We cannot file your claim on your behalf or serve as a public adjuster or attorney.

But we can provide assistance when:

  • The agent or company does not respond to your calls (either before or after you file a claim).
  • The company denies or does not help arrange for temporary lodging and other assistance specified in the insurance policy.
  • The company maintains that the policy does not cover your property damage.

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