**B-ROLL VIDEO & PHOTO RELEASE** CFO Jimmy Patronis Highlights Hurricane Preparedness, Urban Search & Rescue Teams in Orlando
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ORLANDO, Fla. - Today, Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and State Fire Marshal Jimmy Patronis hosted a press conference in Orlando with Urban Search and Rescue (US&R) Task Force 4 to urge Floridians to prepare for disasters now before the next hurricane takes aim at Florida. There are a total of eight US&R teams statewide that are immediately deployed to aid communities that have been impacted by a natural or man-made disaster. The 2023 Atlantic Hurricane Season started June 1st and experts recently predicted the possibility of up to 17 named storms and up to four major hurricanes. At the press conference the CFO was joined by members of Florida Urban Search & Rescue (US&R) Task Force 4, Orlando Fire Chief Charlie Salazar, local elected officials, legislators and representatives from utility companies.
CFO Jimmy Patronis said, “As we begin the 2023 Hurricane Season, I want all Floridians to be as prepared as possible for the threat of potential storms. Last year, we saw one of the most devastating storms in the history of the state with Hurricane Ian. Ian showed how truly unpredictable these storms can be, and how important it is that you always have a disaster plan. I am so thankful that I had US&R Task Force 4 with me in Orlando, being that they are the elite of the elite when it comes to disaster response. I saw these men and women in action during Ian, and I can tell you that they are all heroes, and they are the best to listen to when it comes to disaster preparedness. Now is the time to prepare, do not wait until a storm is coming to protect yourself, your family, and your home.”
Insurance Consumer Advocate Tasha Carter said, “We are officially in the 2023 Hurricane Season, and I would like to thank CFO Patronis and the Urban Search and Rescue Task Force 4 for helping educate Floridians on how to prepare for one of these disastrous storms. It is vital that everyone’s disaster plan includes making sure that you have proper insurance coverage, as well as a downloaded copy of all important documents in case you are forced to evacuate.”
Spencer Bashinski US&R Task Force 4 Leader said, “Hurricane season is here and now is the time to make sure that you have a Disaster Plan in place. We saw many people unprepared last year with Hurricane Ian. That was a hugely unpredictable and violent storm, but that is exactly why you need to be ready for. Do not wait to prepare. On behalf of Task Force 4 and the state USAR system, Thank you CFO Patronis for helping to inform and encourage our communities on disaster preparedness.”
Chief James Fitzgerald Orange County Fire Rescue said, “When a disaster strikes our brave first responders are the first boots on the ground and I couldn’t be more thankful for their service. All Floridians need to make sure they have a disaster plan in place before the next hurricane strikes. Thanks to CFO Patronis for bringing us all together to encourage Floridians to prepare now.”
Fire Chief, Charles Salazar of the Orlando Fire Department said, “Don’t wait until it’s too late, prepare now! The 2023 Hurricane Season is here! Last year proved that hurricane season can be extremely dangerous and unpredictable. The Orlando Fire Department will be prepared and we want the community to do the same. I would like to thank Chief Financial Officer, Jimmy Patronis for his strong leadership, and his commitment to all Floridians, especially the central Florida Community."
Senator Linda Stewart said, “Every citizen in Florida should have a disaster plan in place, especially for Hurricane Season. Thank you so much to CFO Patronis for highlighting the work and heroic mission of Florida’s Urban Search and Rescue Task Force 4.”
Senator Tom Wright said, “Thank you to CFO Patronis for joining us in Orlando today to share an important message on hurricane preparedness. As Floridians, we all know too well how devastating it can be when a disaster strikes and it is critical to prepare now.”
Representative Carolina Amesty said, “Last year, we saw one of the most destructive storms in the history of the state with Hurricane Ian and I encourage all Floridians to make sure they are prepared now. A huge thank you to CFO Patronis for hosting today’s event and for bringing awareness to this important issue.”
Representative Doug Bankson said, “As the CFO always says, ‘it’s not a matter of if, but when a storm will hit.’ All Floridians need to be making sure that their disaster plan is squared away now. All of us have seen how the trajectory and intensity of these storms can change in a moment’s notice, making your preparation essential.”
Representative Robert Brackett said, “Thank you so much CFO Patronis and US&R Task Force 4 for prioritizing the need for Floridians to make a plan and be ready before disaster strikes. I encourage the residents and business owners to make a plan for before, during, and after the storm.”
Representative Ryan Chamberlin said, “I was proud to stand with CFO Patronis and Florida’s first responders today to bring importance to preparing for the 2023 hurricane season. I hope Florida is spared this year from hurricanes, but it is comforting to know that we have the best-of-the best first responders ready to respond if the time comes.”
Representative Susan Plasencia said, “My office was honored to attend the hurricane preparedness press conference with CFO Jimmy Patronis and I encourage all Floridians to get prepared now. Each year, I always make sure I have a battery-powered radio and emergency supplies for my pets. We are just days into the 2023 hurricane season, and because the Legislature passed over a billion dollars in tax relief, which includes two tax holidays for disaster preparedness, there’s no better time than now.”
Representative David Smith said, “It was great to be in Orlando today with Task Force 4 and CFO Jimmy Patronis to highlight the importance of preparing now for hurricane season. Don’t wait until it’s too late, prepare now Florida.”
Michael Jarro, FPL vice president of distribution operations said, “We are so grateful for the work of CFO Patronis and Urban Search and Rescue Task Force 4 for always being ready to serve. We cannot agree more with the CFO on the importance of disaster preparation. FPL is prepared for storm season and we urge our customers to prepare as well. How we prepare today will make a meaningful difference when the next storm strikes.”
James MacDonald, Executive VP of Commercial, Service, Technology Solutions, and Critical Power for Miller Electric Company said, "The way Floridians band together before, during, and after a storm uniquely demonstrates the resiliency of our state, its residents, and our first responders. Limited downtime of critical infrastructure ensures that Florida has the resources to provide safe rescue operations, distribute food and water, communicate effectively, and begin restoration efforts. Since Hurricane Hugo made landfall in 1989, Miller Electric has participated in recovery efforts throughout the state, as our clients work to restore the infrastructure our communities rely on directly following a storm."
Timothy O’Connor, vice president of operations, sustainability and external affairs for TECO Peoples Gas said, “Our company prepares and stands ready year-round for severe weather. We support CFO Patronis and our Urban Search and Rescue teams in calling for Floridians to establish a plan for this hurricane season and to keep a plan for disasters that could occur any time of year. We are thankful that CFO Patronis, Urban Search and Rescue Task Force 4, and our first responders across Florida are always prepared to respond in the wake of disasters.”
Melissa Seixas, Duke Energy Florida state president said, “At Duke Energy our mission is to get the power back on as safely and quickly as possible, however, we could not do that without the bravery and mission of Florida’s Urban Search and Rescue teams. Thank you to CFO Patronis and the amazing men and women serving in Task Force 4. We encourage our customers, communities, and employees to make a plan and be ready for when a disaster strikes.”
Pat Kane, Mosaic Vice President, Environmental Health and Safety and Operations Services said, “Florida is fortunate to have CFO Patronis and the Urban Search and Rescue Task Force 4 as one of our best plans for Hurricane response. The Mosaic Company believes that having a good plan in place is the key to being prepared for Hurricanes. It is important for all businesses to get their plans in place.”
Kira Lake, Chesapeake Utilities Director of Marketing and Communications said, “While serious weather conditions cannot be prevented, preparation can go a long way toward keeping us all safe. We are grateful for CFO Patronis and the Urban Search and Rescue Task Force 4 for making the preparations now to be able to respond to disasters. They help keep our teams safe as we respond to restore our customers and continue to deliver the energy that makes life better for the communities we serve. We encourage you to make your own plans to keep you and your families safe.”
Visit PrepareFL.com for more information and to start your disaster plan today. CFO Patronis’ Insurance Consumer Helpline is available to assist Floridians with insurance issues and the claims process. Call the toll-free helpline at 1-877-MY-FL-CFO (693-5236), to talk to a knowledgeable insurance specialist Monday - Friday 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
About CFO Jimmy Patronis
Chief Financial Officer and State Fire Marshal Jimmy Patronis is a statewide elected official and a member of Florida’s Cabinet who oversees the Department of Financial Services. CFO Patronis works each day to fight insurance fraud, support Florida’s firefighters, and ensure the state’s finances are stable to support economic growth in the state. Follow the activities of the Department on Facebook (FLDFS) and Twitter (@FLDFS).