FDACS issues tips for avoiding danger, scams that come with high wind, flooding

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BOLO issued for dangers and scams that accompany natural disasters.

Hurricane Ian has the state exposed and the state Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has issued some pointers for preparing for the storm’s wrath safely and avoiding the scams that often follow a natural disaster’s wake.

All Floridians should take heed, Commissioner Nikki Fried said.

“As Hurricane Ian continues to grow and the path of the storm remains uncertain, I urge all Floridians to prepare now there is no replacement for proper preparation” Fried said in the prepared statement. “I encourage all Floridians to make sure their vehicles are fully charged or have full tanks, and that everyone exercise caution to avoid potential storm related scams.”

First off, when it comes to fuel, certain benchmarks should followed, including:

For motor vehicles, the halfway point is the lowest a vehicle’s gas tank should fall throughout hurricane season, and each household should have at least one vehicle with a full tank of fuel as soon as a storm threatens the state.

For generators, fuel containers should be filled on the ground, not in a truck bed or a trunk. And don’t use just any kind of containers to store fuel. Items like milk jugs or a container with an open top presents a hazard. Use Department of Transportation-approved containers that close tightly and don’t leak.

When gas stations run out of fuel, consumers are asked to contact the department’s Division of Consumer Services at 1-800-HELP-FLA or go to FloridaConsumerHelp.com.

In the aftermath, when dealing with clean-up or repairs, consumers should be on the alert for unlicensed contractors and scammers, people posing as government officials, inspectors or utility workers saying that immediate work needs to be done.

To avoid the pitfalls in the aftermath of clean-up and repair, the FDACS recommends:

Asking for identification, licenses, proof of insurance and references.

— Checking with FDACS Division of Consumer Services to see if the company or person has been the focus of a complaint at this site.

Shopping around to see what other companies are charging for the same work.

Requiring the work is completed before payment is made.

Knowing that the Federal Emergency Management Agency never charges a fee to make an application for aid and anyone who asks for one to help you qualify for FEMA aid is a red flag you might be dealing with a scammer.

Also, be aware that charity scams tend to proliferate in the aftermath of a disaster. FDACS has consumer tips here for avoiding charity scams and donating so your donation does really help someone.

If you have been taken advantage of, you can filed a complaint by completing an online form or calling 1-800-HELP-FLA (435-7352).

Anne Geggis

Anne Geggis is a South Florida journalist who began her career in Vermont and has worked at the Sun-Sentinel, the Daytona Beach News-Journal and the Gainesville Sun covering government issues, health and education. She was a member of the Sun-Sentinel team that won the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the Parkland high school shooting. You can reach her on Twitter @AnneBoca or by emailing [email protected]


3 comments

  • Tom

    September 26, 2022 at 4:05 pm

    “If you experience high winds from the “tropical 4 ocean party” then go swimming.” – Tom Trump

    • 8675309

      September 26, 2022 at 4:18 pm

      For a good time call 867-5309

    • Tom Impersonator

      September 26, 2022 at 4:20 pm

      My name Tom. Mom forgot to preform the correct coat hangar abortion. Now I’m here.

Comments are closed.


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