U.S. Representative

Dennis A. Ross

Proudly Serving Florida's 15th Congressional District

Hurricane Preparedness

FEMA Disaster Relief Assistance Information:

~ Apply online at https://www.disasterassistance.gov.

~ Constituents may call the registration phone number at 1-800-621-3362; those who have a speech disability or hearing loss and use TTY, should call 1-800-462-7585 directly; for those who use 711 or Video Relay Service (VRS), call 1-800-621-3362.

SBA Disaster Assistance

Press Release: https://dennisross.house.gov/UploadedFiles/SBA_Disaster_Assistance_for_Businesses_and_Residents.docx.pdf

SBA Web Resource

The SBA has a dedicated site for individuals to get help: https://www.sba.gov/disaster-assistance/hurricane-irma.  This includes information on SBA disaster loans and details for people and businesses affected by Hurricane Irma.

Disaster Loan Program information

Low-interest federal disaster loans are available to businesses and residents as a result of disaster declarations.  Applicants may apply online using the Electronic Loan Application (ELA) via SBA’s secure Web site at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela or call (800) 659-2955.  Types of loans include:

  • Business Physical Disaster Loans: Any business or organization located in a declared disaster area and that incurred damage during the disaster may apply for a loan to help replace or restore damaged property.
  • Economic Injury Disaster Loans: If you are in a declared disaster area and have suffered economic injury regardless of physical damage, you may qualify for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL).
  • Home and Person Property Loans: If you are in a declared disaster area and are the victim of a disaster, you may be eligible for financial assistance from the SBA, even if you don't own a business.
  • Military Reservists Economic Injury Loans: If you have an essential employee who is a military reservist called to active duty, SBA provides loans to help eligible small businesses with operating expenses.

Disaster loan fact sheets are available here.

Mortgage Relief Assistance

For homeowners who have a mortgage owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, the federal government makes special relief from mortgage obligations available in the wake of a hurricane. For more information please visit: https://www.fhfa.gov/Homeownersbuyer/MortgageAssistance/Pages/Disaster-Assistance.aspx.

Additionally, constituents located in a FEMA declared disaster area may be eligible for a 90-day payment relief period on their mortgage. Constituents must first contact their mortgage lender to discuss possible options available. This is not a 90-day mortgage forgiveness program. Homeowners will have to make these payments at some point in the duration of their mortgage loans.  Banks may work with them for a 90-day period to "delay" the payment.

Fraud Protection

Please be advised, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has warned of an increased threat of investment scams in the wake of major storms. For more information or to report a potential scam, please visit: https://www.sec.gov/oiea/investor-alerts-and-bulletins/ia_harvey


Hurricane season officially starts June 1 in Florida, and runs through November 30. We must remember severe storms can take unpredictable routes, putting our homes and lives in danger without much time to prepare. I encourage all of you to start taking proactive measures to prepare for the brunt and effects of seasonal storms. Below are some helpful checklists and website links for you and your family to use for hurricane preparedness. Stay safe, and God Bless! 

Suggested FEMA Precautions:

~ To begin preparing, you should build an emergency kit and make a family communications plan.

~ Consider the following things when putting together your emergency food supplies:

  • Store at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food.
  • Choose foods your family will eat.
  • Remember any special dietary needs.
  • Avoid foods that will make you thirsty.
  • Choose salt-free crackers, whole grain cereals and canned foods with high liquid content.
  • Following a disaster, there may be power outages that could last for several days. Stock canned foods, dry mixes and other staples that do not require refrigeration, cooking, water or special preparation. Be sure to include a manual can opener and eating utensils.
  • Download the Recommended Supplies List (PDF).     

~ Water is an essential element to survival and a necessary item in an emergency supplies kit. 

  • Following a disaster, clean drinking water may not be available. Your regular water source could be cut-off or compromised through contamination. 
  • Prepare yourself by building a supply of water that will meet your family’s needs during an emergency. 
  • View the recommended emergency supplies list (PDF).

Click here for a list of emergency preparedness materials (families, pets, seniors, disables, businesses).

~ Know your surroundings.

~ Learn the elevation level of your property and whether the land is flood-prone. This will help you know how your property will be affected when storm surge or tidal flooding are predicted.

~ Identify levees and dams in your area and determine whether they pose a hazard to you.

~ Learn community hurricane evacuation routes and how to find higher ground. Determine where you would go and how you would get there if you needed to evacuate.

~ Make plans to secure your property:

  • Cover all of your home’s windows. Permanent storm shutters offer the best protection for windows. A second option is to board up windows with 5/8” marine plywood, cut to fit and ready to install. Tape does not prevent windows from breaking.
  • Install straps or additional clips to securely fasten your roof to the frame structure. This will reduce roof damage.
  • Be sure trees and shrubs around your home are well trimmed so they are more wind resistant.
  • Clear loose and clogged rain gutters and downspouts.
  • Reinforce your garage doors; if wind enters a garage it can cause dangerous and expensive structural damage.
  • Plan to bring in all outdoor furniture, decorations, garbage cans and anything else that is not tied down.
  • Determine how and where to secure your boat.
  • Install a generator for emergencies.
  • If in a high-rise building, be prepared to take shelter on or below the 10th floor.

~ For details on how to best prepare for a hurricane, please visit the Federal Emergency Management Association.

Emergency Contact Information

Polk County

  • Emergency Communications Center: 863-401-2234
  • Animal Services: 863-499-2600
  • Fire Rescue: 863-519-7350
  • American Red Cross: 863-294-5941
  • United Way: 863-648-1515 or 800-881-UWAY
  • Citizens Information Line (local emergency updates): 863-401-2234 or 866-661-0228

Hillsborough County

  • Emergency Communications: 813-274-7011
  • Animal Services: 813-744-5660
  • Fire Rescue: 813-272-6600
  • American Red Cross: 813-348-4820
  • United Way: 813-274-0900 or 813-234-1234
  • Flooding Emergency: 813-274-3101

Lake County

  • Emergency Communications and Operations Center (8 a.m. to 5 p.m.): 352-343-9420
  • Animal Services: 352-343-9688
  • Public Safety and Fire Rescue: 352-343-9458
  • Citizens Information Line: 352-253-9999

Duke Energy


Lakeland Outages

FDEM Hurricane Contact Information
  • The Florida Emergency Information Line has activated FOR CITIZENS and can be reached at 1-800-342-3557.
  • State Emergency Operations Center Media Line: 850-921-0217.
  • Follow @FLSERT or @FLGovScott on Twitter for live updates.
  • Visit http://www.floridadisaster.org/info to find information on shelters, road closures and evacuation routes. 

More Hurricane Preparedness Links: