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February 2016 Archives

Are Red Light Cameras Preventing Car Accidents?

Florida lawmakers want to take action when it comes to preventing car accidents. Yet according to a recent article in the Miami Herald, legislators are considering outlawing red light cameras throughout the state despite loudly voiced objections from officials in individual cities and counties. If lawmakers in our state want to curb the rate of auto accidents on Florida's roads, is removing red light cameras really the best decision? According to Sen. Jeff Brandes of St. Petersburg, red light cameras have "essentially no safety benefit." To be sure, lawmakers believe that distracted driving and cellphone use behind the wheel are to blame for a majority of traffic collisions.

Florida Severe Weather Awareness and Hurricane Preparedness

In the middle of winter, most Floridians are not yet thinking about the risks associated with hurricane season and the need to prepare our homes for impending bad weather. However, according to a recent article in Tampa Bay Newspapers Weekly, the winter months are as good a time as any to prepare for severe weather and hurricane insurance claims. Indeed, the last week in February has been deemed Severe Weather Awareness Week, during which local emergency management services partner with the National Weather Service to raise awareness about the risks of property and bodily damage in Florida when severe weather strikes.

Florida Senate Committee Approves Sinkhole Insurance Bill

Back in early January, The Tampa Tribune published a story about "sinkhole alley legislation" that aimed to allow homeowners to purchase sinkhole coverage for damage that did not rise to the level of being structural damage or "catastrophic." Earlier last month, Florida Politics reported that a Florida Senate subcommittee "unanimously approved a bill enabling insurance companies to sell standalone sinkhole insurance policies for damages falling short of catastrophic loss." The Florida House of Representative's counterpart to the Senate bill, HB 1327, has also been filed. Both bills need to pass through two more committee hearings before they can be voted on by the respective legislative bodies.

Personal Injuries and Sports-Related Concussions

Over the last couple of years, news about sports-related concussions and traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) in football have been a topic of serious concern. Indeed, numerous current and former NFL players have alleged personal injuries resulting from the sport, and researchers have been delving into the long-term effects of head trauma and a condition known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). According to a recent article in Medscape, brain injuries sustained in football have reached a "tipping point."

Tornadoes May Worsen in Florida

We knew that this year's El Niño was among the strongest on record, but what most Floridians did not know is that they would need to be bracing for significant risks of tornado damage. A recent article in The Palm Beach Post emphasized that we have only made it through a single month of 2016, but eight devastating tornadoes have already touched down in our state. And these tornadoes were not forgettable experiences for most homeowners. Indeed, as the article points out, "even for hurricane-hearty Floridians, the eight tornadoes that pulsed through the state this month were soul-shaking, mesmerizing, terrifying." What could be worse than eight tornadoes by the end of January? In short, it is possible that the tornado trend will continue-and perhaps will worsen-in the coming weeks.

Protecting Your Home from Wind Damage

Given that severe storms have been impacting Florida residents in recent months and likely will continue through the winter, it is important to think about ways of protecting your home from wind storm damage. Certainly, the threat of wind damage from hurricanes is well-known to most residents of South and Central Florida. But if you own a home, you might not be thinking about bolstering your property in the hurricane off-season. According to a pamphlet from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), "the force of . . . wind alone can cause weak places in your home to fail." In other words, it is a good idea to take steps to bolster your property in the event of an unexpected severe storm with high winds.

Preparation for Hail Storms in Florida

According to a recent article in the Orlando Sentinel, the El Niño pattern this winter could result in severe storms in Central and Southwest Florida. Indeed, as the article emphasizes, "Floridians should brace themselves for a wet and wild winter, all thanks to El Niño." In case you do not know about El Niño and the ways in which these weather patterns can impact Florida, the primary fact to know is this: a strong El Niño can bring serious thunderstorms, tornadoes, and hailstorms to our typically sunny state. And according to the article, "this year's is one of the strongest El Niños on record." How can you protect your home from hailstorm damage?

Preparing Your House for Hurricanes

Even though it is winter in Florida (and well outside the time period for anticipating a hurricane), it is never too early to think about whether your home and personal property are prepared for the start of hurricane season. The National Hurricane Center makes clear that hurricane season runs from June 1st through November 30th, and as such Southwest Florida residents do not need to worry about the risk of hurricane damage during the winter months. However, according to an article from CBS Moneywatch, some aspects of hurricane preparation can take months. It is never too early to begin preparing your home for one of these devastating storms.

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