Florida Disaster Help: Recovery, Response and Storm Preparedness Resources

Posted on 09/30/22 by AARP Florida

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Hurricane Ian Recovery


En Español | AARP Florida is here for you. We have resources to help you recover from Hurricane Ian, help those in need and prepare for the next storm. Below you will find hurricane resources including tips, checklists, video libraries and social media accounts to follow. AARP Florida continuously updates this webpage, and you can check out the AARP Florida Facebook page, where we regularly post updated information. 

Recovery Resources:

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has compiled a list of Hurricane Ian resources. You can also visit FloridaDisaster.org, the state division of emergency management’s website, for the latest on the recovery efforts. Or call the State Assistance Information Hotline at 1-800-342-3557. (But if it’s an emergency, call 911.)

Many businesses, including grocery chains, banks, rideshare apps, home improvement stores and wireless telephone companies are offering services and help. Find a list at FloridaDisaster.biz.

Check Florida 511 for updates on traffic and road closures.

Government Assistance: 

Fuel and Electric Power:

Insurance:

  • If you’re uninsured — or if your insurance doesn’t cover damage related to the hurricane — apply for disaster assistance through FEMA
  • If you have homeowners or renters insurance, FEMA recommends filing a claim with your provider ASAP.
  • If you have damage from wind and flood, you’ll need to file two separate claims. For information on how to file a flood claim, visit FEMA’s website or call 877-336-2627.  
  • Florida’s Division of Consumer Services can also help with insurance questions and claims.

Shelter:

  • To locate an open shelter in your county (including shelters for those with disabilities or certain medical needs) go to FloridaDisaster.org.
  • Visit Florida has activated an emergency accommodations module on Expedia to help people find hotels and lodging.
  • Airbnb has set up a page to help displaced Floridians find accommodations. It’s also working with local nonprofits to offer free temporary housing. 
  • If you need help finding an affordable rental, use the Florida Housing Finance Corporation’s search tool.

Food and Supplies:

Avoiding Scams and Fraud:

  • When dealing with contractors for repairs, flood damage or debris removal, check references, don’t give money up front and ask your insurer if it has any preferred local contractors. Learn more about how to avoid fraud from AARP Florida.
  • FEMA keeps a running list of disaster-related rumors and scams and ways to report scammers. If you suspect you’re being scammed, call FEMA’s fraud hotline at 1-866-223-0814.
  • It’s illegal to charge grossly inflated prices for essentials like food, gas and supplies during declared emergencies. Report price gouging on the Florida Attorney General’s website, or call 1-866-966-7266. 
  • Learn more about how to spot a scam from AARP’s Fraud Watch Network.

How You Can Help:

  • The Florida Disaster Fund is accepting online donations to support organizations working on recovery. You can also contribute by texting DISASTER to 20222. Or write a check to the Volunteer Florida Foundation, put “Florida Disaster Fund” in the memo line and mail it to 1545 Raymond Diehl Road, Suite 250, Tallahassee, FL 32308. 
  • AARP Foundation created a relief fund to help support the victims. AARP and AARP Foundation will match donations dollar for dollar, up to a total of $1 million.
  • The American Red Cross is seeking donations online to help hurricane victims. You can also sign up to give blood or train as a shelter volunteer.
  • Volunteer Florida offers a sign-up sheet for volunteer opportunities.
  • The United Way is looking for response, recovery, clean-up and food distribution volunteers.
  • Airbnb hosts can sign up to offer emergency stays to displaced Floridians. 
  • Before you donate or volunteer, FEMA recommends checking the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster website for a list of trusted disaster relief organizations.

Get Ready for the Next Storm:

  • Storm preparations: It’s long been standard practice for Floridians to prepare two kits as hurricane season begins – a “Stay Kit” so they are prepared if they choose to ride out a storm at home and a “Go Kit” if they need to evacuate in the face of a major storm. Make sure you include COVID-19 supplies such as alcohol-based sanitizing wipes, several cloth masks, a small bottle of bleach, and nitrile or latex rubber gloves in both kits.
  • Evacuation plans: For many years, AARP Florida has encouraged Floridians to prepare by making evacuation plans ahead of a hurricane. Your plan should include several options for hotel accommodations. It’s best to call ahead to ensure that you can find lodging if needed. Be aware of the latest COVID-19 guidance in your area and prepare accordingly.   
  • Sheltering at home or with friends or family: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have issued guidance, urging Americans to consider sheltering in place or evacuating to the homes of friends or family members outside the storm area. The CDC guidance recognizes that there is a risk of spreading COVID-19 in a hurricane shelter. If you decide a shelter is the safest option in a major hurricane, you should observe the latest COVID-19 safety guidelines.
  • Consider whether you need to use the Florida Special Needs Registry: First responders use the Special Needs Registry as a valuable reference when planning where to place special needs shelters in advance of hurricanes and other emergencies. They also use the registry to check on Floridians in the aftermath of a storm. If you need to register, please visit the Florida Special Needs Registry website, select your county of residence and follow the instructions to register. There is also important information and local resources you may want to review as you register. If your loved one is living with dementia or is otherwise unable to register, you can register for them as their caregiver. Regardless of where you live in Florida, you only need to register once.
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Download Emergency Preparedness Checklist for Adults Age 50+
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Special Needs Shelters. First responders use the special needs registry as a valuable reference when planning where to place special needs shelters in advance of hurricanes and other emergencies. They also use the registry to check on Floridians in the aftermath of a storm. Register yourself or a loved one now.

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Storm Surge: Hurricanes’ Biggest Killer is Nothing to Take Lightly. AARP Florida urges any Floridian living near a waterway to plan for storm surge when a hurricane is approaching. Here's how to avoid the surge.

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Northwest Florida
Facebook:
Red Cross Panama City Florida
Red Cross of Northwest Florida
Capital Area Red Cross
NOAA National Hurricane Center
National Weather Service - Tallahassee
Twitter:
FEMA Region 4
National Weather Service - Tallahassee
Florida State Emergency Response Team
NOAA National Hurricane Center - Atlantic
National Weather Service
County-by-county list of emergency services:
Florida Division of Emergency Management
Preparedness:
Ready.Gov

Northeast Florida
Facebook:
Northeast Florida Chapter of the American Red Cross
National Weather Service - Jacksonville
Twitter:
FEMA Region 4
Duval County Emergency Management
Florida State Emergency Response Team
NOAA National Hurricane Center - Atlantic
National Weather Service - Jacksonville
National Weather Service
County-by-county list of emergency services:
Florida Division of Emergency Management
Preparedness:
Ready.Gov

Central/Southwest Florida
Facebook:
Red Cross of Central Florida
National Weather Service – Tampa Bay
National Weather Service – Melbourne
Twitter:
FEMA Region 4 Tampa Bay Red Cross
Florida State Emergency Response Team
National Weather Service – Tampa Bay
National Weather Service – Melbourne
NOAA National Hurricane Center - Atlantic
National Weather Service
Red Cross of Central Florida
County-by-county list of emergency services:
Florida Division of Emergency Management
Preparedness:
Ready.Gov

Southeast Florida
Facebook:
South Florida Red Cross
National Weather Service – Miami
National Weather Service – Key West
Twitter:
FEMA Region 4
Florida State Emergency Response Team
National Weather Service – Miami
National Weather Service – Key West
NOAA National Hurricane Center - Atlantic
National Weather Service
Red Cross of SW Florida
Red Cross of South Florida
County-by-county list of emergency services:
Florida Division of Emergency Management
Preparedness:
Ready.Gov

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