As we enter the 2011 Hurricane Season, the Lee County Sheriff’s Office encourages residents to prepare early for the possibility of a devastating storm and to know in advance what you can do to keep from becoming a victim of fraud once the storm has passed. Below are suggestions you may consider taking action on beginning today:
1. Shop perspective contractors in case you need someone to repair your roof, pool cage or home. Early research with the Department of Business Regulations and the Better Business Bureau on a company’s track record can save you from making a big financial mistake during an emergency. Once you’ve narrowed down your list of potential companies, call and ask what their hurricane plan is and how you should contact them if you need their services.
2. Gather all of your medical records and property insurance papers, immunization records and other important documents and place them in a rugged, weatherproof container. You may consider sending a copy of these documents to a family member who lives outside of the area for safekeeping.
3. Plan ahead and be extra prepared if you have a relative or friend who has special needs. Check early for hurricane shelters that best meet their needs.
4. Establish an out-of-town phone number with family and friends to relay messages about your whereabouts and safety after the storm.
5. Put shutters and other window and door protection in place when instructed by local weather and law enforcement officials. Do NOT put them up to soon due to safety and fire hazards. Putting them up to soon can cause escape and rescue problems as well as liability issues with your insurance company. If you are not sure about your homeowner’s policy regarding hurricane shutters contact your local insurance agent.
6. Begin creating your hurricane emergency kit now! Remember to have at least 3 to 5 days’ worth of food and water per person; along with other important items such as a flashlight, a can opener, a battery operated radio or television, and a corded phone.
To learn more about this topic or any other topic concerning the safety and security of our community, contact your Crime Prevention Specialist to arrange for them to come out and talk to your group or neighborhood.
To arrange to have someone come out to your community to talk about this or another safety or security topic please contact the Lee County Sheriff’s Office, Community Relations Section at 239-477-1400.
Stacey Payne if with the Lee County Sheriff’s Office, Community Relations Section.