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Gallagher Joins Southeastern Officials in Issuing Warning about Hurricanes’ Deadly Risk of Flooding

5/21/2003

CONTACTO: Tami Torres o Nina Banister
(850) 413-2842

TALLAHASSEE – With hurricane season less than two weeks away, Florida's Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher is joining officials from throughout the southeastern United States in warning residents to not only plan for a potential hurricane strike but also for the risk of inland flooding that often occurs with a hurricane or tropical storm.

The Florida Department of Financial Services, which Gallagher oversees, is joining the National Weather Service, the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes, and officials in Georgia, Texas, Alabama, Arkansas, Virginia and West Virginia, in a public education campaign promoting the message "Turn Around, Don't Drown." The campaign, launched today, coincides with National Hurricane Awareness Week. Hurricane season begins June 1.

"Most hurricane-related deaths are a result of people driving through flooded areas," Gallagher said. "This outreach effort is intended to remind Floridians that the risk is real and not worth taking."

According to the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH), inland flooding is the most dangerous and deadly problem caused by hurricanes.


"While many people are aware that flooding poses a serious risk to property, few people realize that it is the leading cause of weather-related fatalities in the United States," said Leslie Chapman-Henderson, president and CEO of FLASH. She said that of the 56 deaths caused by Hurricane Floyd in 1999, all but six were the result of inland flooding.

Inland flooding can occur as far as 500 miles from the eye of a tropical cyclone, said Kandis Boyd, hydrology program manager for the National Weather Service's Southern Region.

Bill Proenza, director, of the NWS' Southern Region, said it takes only six inches of rushing water to knock a person off their feet and that just two feet of rushing water can carry away most vehicles.

According to Gallagher, in preparation for hurricane season, Floridians should be double-checking insurance coverage, taking steps to secure their homes and developing an escape plan.

"Being prepared can save lives, property and a lot of heartache," Gallagher said.

Además recomendó seguir estos consejos de preparación para la tormenta:


· Don't wait until the last minute to buy coverage. If you're covered, carefully review your policy, especially its "declarations" page. Know whether your policy pays the "replacements cost" or "actual cash value" for a covered loss. Este último en raros casos paga lo suficiente como para reemplazar un artículo destruido al precio actual. Puede querer mejorar su póliza si ésta no cubre el valor actual de su vivienda y sus contenidos.

· Be sure you know what your deductible is for hurricane losses. La mayoría de las pólizas actuales tienen un deducible por huracán de dos a cinco por ciento del valor asegurado de la vivienda. Si su propiedad resulta dañada, usted será responsable de una parte de los gastos de reparación.

· Inventory your household items, including receipts, purchase dates and serial numbers. Fotografíe o grabe en video sus bienes. Guarde copias de esta información y de sus pólizas de seguro en un lugar seguro y guarde los originales en una caja de seguridad.

· Write down the name, address and claims-reporting telephone number of your insurance company, which may differ from your agent's contact information. Guarde esta información en un lugar seguro y asegúrese de tener acceso a ella si se ve obligado a evacuar su hogar.

· When a hurricane threatens, take action to protect your property. Compre los materiales que necesita para salvaguardar su propiedad y minimizar las pérdidas. Cubra sus ventanas con persianas, revestimiento exterior o contrachapado. Mueva los vehículos a su garaje o garaje techado cuando sea posible. Debe llevar adentro las parrillas y/o muebles del patio.

· Strengthen your home by making sure roof anchors are installed. Replace windows and doors that don't pass the impact test or cover them with shutters. The right doors, windows and shutters will save you money on your insurance premiums.

· Keep materials such as plywood and plastic on hand in case you need to make temporary repairs after a storm. Guarde los recibos de esas reparaciones para que su compañía de seguros pueda reintegrárselos.

For free guides on "Insuring Your Home" or a brochure on "Natural Disasters," visit www.fldfs.com or call the department's toll-free Consumer Helpline at 1-800-342-2762. For more information on the "Turn Around, Don't Drown" campaign, visit www.srh.weather.gov/tadd.