On Thursday, Florida (CFO) Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis traveled to Pensacola to survey Hurricane Sally damage and help coordinate response efforts. The CFO participated in a briefing with local and state emergency management officials at the Escambia County Emergency Operations Center (EOC), then participated in a press conference. The following is a transcript of his remarks.
“Thank you so much for being here. Thank y’all for working through the night to take care of the citizens of Northwest Florida.
“Sixteen years to the day that Hurricane Ivan devastated Pensacola and it’s so crazy this storm was 1 mph short of being a Category 3.
“We have deployed out three strike teams from Tampa, Jacksonville and Miami. They will be boots on the ground. It will be 100 first responders going door to door to check houses multiple times in order to try to administer lifesaving aid.
“These teams are built [for] more of a swift water type environment in order to be able to make any concerns that may have with flooding in order to touch base with people to make sure their vitals are good and they have the necessary medications or to evacuate them out.
“I will ask you also go ahead and start your insurance claim process now. You can go to most of the insurance company websites and you can start the claim process now. You can also visit PrepareFL.com. We’ve got a hyperlink there that is specifically for Hurricane Sally.
“If you have any photos or footage of your house pre-storm, get that together. That will help on the claims process.
“The adjuster will come to your house. They’ll want to assess the damage and any photos that you have prior to what the storm and what your house looked like, that will help with more of a black and white (a cut and dry) assessment as the claims process moves forward.
“As the attorney general stated, there will be fraudsters that will come out. We will see the absolute best in humanity, but we will also see the worst in humanity.
“If someone asks you to do business and they only want to accept cash, do not accept their offer. You are better off not doing business with anyone who will only accept cash to do it. You might as well be kissing your cash goodbye.
“Our DIFS [Division of Investigative & Forensic Services] officers – we will deploy out strike teams – these are our insurance fraud investigators that are boots on the ground.
“We will set up a deployment here and we will be in the neighborhoods in order to provide an extra layer of information and protection and ensure you’re not being taken advantage of.
“I can’t stress enough how much I appreciate our first responders.
“There’s over 7,000 lineman that will be deployed here in Northwest Florida to get the resources and electricity back up.
“We’ve got over 100,000 people without electricity but it’s amazing as these men and women come together, they will work through the night and we will all be better after this soon enough.
“We will come back better and stronger.
“Thank you so much. Any questions visit PrepareFL.com or call us at 1-877-MY-FL-CFO.”