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The one item that may be missing from your hurricane kit

BONITA SPRINGS, Fla. — Charles Flesher will never forget having to use a rowboat to get to his home in 2017. 

“It looked like a big lake,” Flesher recalled, describing his neighborhood.

Hurricane Irma had drenched the flood-prone streets near the Imperial River in Bonita Springs. 

“It (was) a pain in the tail,” Flesher said of the experience. “I felt sorry for a lot of people down the street here because they’re low. And they had a lot of water in those (homes).”

Flesher’s main home, built higher up, was spared. A second home he owned nearby in Bonita Springs wasn’t as fortunate.

A carpenter himself, Flesher was able to fix up most of the damage. But that didn’t stop others from trying. 

“I had a lot of people approach over on Bonita Beach Road to do this for this much, and I thought, ‘My God, that’s awful high to start with,’” Flesher recalled. “You get these guys that fly by night, they take half the money and you never see them again.” 

Bryan Oglesby of the Better Business Bureau serving West Florida said they receive a spike in contractor complaints any time a storm sweeps through.

“They’re playing on that emotion, they’re claiming there’s damage when there’s not,” Oglesby said of the bad contractors. “They’re either taking high payment upfront and not coming back to finish the job, or they’re doing shoddy work.”

Most people have the usual items in their hurricane kit: food, water, flashlights, batteries, and more. Oglesby suggests you also add a list of credible, licensed contractors to your kit. 

Consider Hurricane Elsa a wake-up call: do some homework ahead of time in case the worst happens.  

“Get a list of contractors at each industry and have their information handy so you can try and call upon them,” Oglesby suggested. “Be proactive and connect with them when you need those repairs done.” 

“You just gotta watch,” Flesher advised. “To me, scammers is what they are.”

Oglesby offered up these additional tips: 

— Don’t hire a contractor until you know what your insurance will cover

— Don’t pay more than 10% upfront for a job

— Know about an ‘Assignment of Benefits’ agreement before signing one 

— Ask about a waiver or release of liens, which may be able to protect you from lawsuits by a subcontractor or supplier

More information can be found HERE.

The post The one item that may be missing from your hurricane kit appeared first on NBC2 News.

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