Florida Wildfire State of Emergency: 5 Tips to Protect Yourself

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“It could never happen to me.”  That is what the survivor reptile part of our brains tells us when we see homes out west engulfed by widespread wildfires.  Well, this week Floridians are feeling more at risk.  On Saturday, the morning of April 8th, I walked out my front door to smell fire.  The interstate, miles away, had been closed down the day before due to a brush fire burning out of control, and this was the aftermath.  By Tuesday, April 11th, Governor Rick Scott had declared a state of emergency as a result of severe drought conditions resulting in 107 active wildfires burning tens of thousands of acres of land across the state and destroying 27 homes.  https://www.flgov.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/17120.pdf .  Nearly every area of the State of Florida is susceptible to fire, as shown on this Florida Fire Service map:

Active Wildfires Florida 2017

With ongoing dry and breezy conditions in the forecast, the fires may only intensify.  So what can you do to ensure you are protected and have the resources to rebuild in the awful event your home or business is affected by fire?  Here are 5 Tips:

  1. Review your building insurance policy and ensure the amount of coverage is sufficient to allow you to rebuild.
  2. Purchase Law & Ordinance coverage, which provides benefits for code upgrades that are often required in the event of major fire damage.
  3. Keep a running inventory of your contents and the value. In the meantime, while you are trying to find the time to get that done, photograph and videotape your contents so you can create an inventory later in the event a loss occurs before you can complete it.
  4. Purchase Business Interruption coverage so you will have income in the event your business is shut down due to a fire.
  5. In the event of a loss, before signing a contract with any fire clean up or remediation vendor, contact an experienced property insurance attorney for a free consultation to ensure you know your rights and what to watch out for.

As the summer months return, the air becomes more humid and afternoon thunderstorms begin, lessening the threat of wildfires.  But there is no rest for the weary in Florida—we will pivot to prepare for hurricane season.

Contact Kristi if you have any further questions.

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