With Isaac, yet another tropical storm headed toward Florida, some agencies are offering safety tips to residents and boaters.
-- The U.S. Coast Guard is urging the maritime community to track Tropical Storm Isaac's progress and take early action to protect themselves and their vessels. The public should monitor the storm through newspapers, the Internet and local television and radio stations. Boaters can monitor the storm progress on VHF-FM Ch. 16.
Mandatory evacuation orders should be obeyed since the Coast Guard and other emergency responders may not be able to evacuate people in danger during a storm.
Owners of large boats should move them to inland marinas where they will be less likely to break free or be damaged. Boats that can be trailered should be pulled from the water and stored in a place where there isn't any flooding. If there are any hazardous materials on or near the water, boaters are responsible for any spills that may occur.
Swimmers are urged to stay clear of beaches until local officials say the water is safe since rip currents and undertows can drag them away from their boat or beach and lead to drowning. And in addition to drawbridge closures due to the storm, several security zones go into effect Saturday at noon in the waterways around downtown Tampa, Pinellas County and Old Tampa Bay due to the planned Republican National Convention.
For more information on hurricane preparedness, please visit the National Hurricane Center at http://www.nhc.noaa.gov.
-- The Jacksonville Association of Fire Fighters has also unveiled its Storm Safety Guide, which can be downloaded for free at //www.jfrd.com/Storm%20Safety(1).pdf. The guide offers tips on lightning protection, what to do if a home is hit by lightning and storm safety tips. It also contains a link to the JEA Power Outage web page. This guide, prepared by the Florida Association of Insurance Agents, will help you plan for insurance before a storm and understand the claims process after a storm.
-- The Florida Association of Insurance Agents has advice to homeowners before a storm hits. First, make sure you have adequate insurance coverage and compile a detailed inventory of what is in the home, along with its value, with digital photographs or video for documentation.
After the hurricane, contact the insurance agent as quickly as possible to report losses since it takes time to process a large number of claims after a disaster. Don't go into a storm-damaged home unless it is safe to enter. Make any repairs necessary to prevent further property damage, including covering broken roofs, walls or windows with plywood, canvas or other waterproof material. Keep all receipts for expenditures made to temporarily repair damage or to estimate the extent of damage.
Use the pre-disaster home inventory to prepare a detailed accounting of all damaged or destroyed property for an adjuster and keep a copy. The list should be as complete as possible and include descriptions of items damaged or destroyed, date of purchase or approximate age, cost at time of purchase, and estimated replacement cost. Collect cancelled checks, invoices, appraisals or other papers that might assist the adjuster in determining the value of the destroyed property. And take photographs or video of the damage to help with the claim and assist the adjuster in an evaluation.
After the storm, clean wooden furniture and floors to avoid further damage. Draperies, linens and clothing should be laundered. Upholstered furniture should be examined. You may be able to mitigate further damage by cleaning and drying it. Metal objects like guns, drapery rods, and electric motors should be dried and rubbed or sprayed with oil to prevent corrosion. Radios, TVs and other electronic systems should also be dried out. And if a car has been damaged or submerged in a flood, move it to high ground and let it dry out. Do not attempt to start or operate it until it is thoroughly dry.
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