People in Georgia, Carolinas Need to Prepare for Hurricane Michael Now, Warns FEMA

Hurricane Michael made landfall today as one of the strongest storms ever to strike the Florida panhandle.

“This is a dangerous, life-threatening Category 4 hurricane,” said FEMA Administrator Brock Long. “Its impact will be felt far beyond just the Florida coast. Do not underestimate it. People in Georgia and the Carolinas need to prepare for high winds, heavy rain and possible tornadoes today.”

Residents in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina should:

  • Follow instructions from local officials. Listen to local updates and instructions. If advised to evacuate, do so immediately.
  • Text, don’t call. During an emergency, phones lines may be overwhelmed. To let your loved ones know you are safe, send a text instead.
  • Save power. If the power goes out, turn off or disconnect appliances, equipment, or electronics. Power may return with momentary “surges” or “spikes” that can cause damage. Only use a generator or other gasoline-powered machinery outdoors and away from windows.
  • Let first responders do their jobs. Stay off the roads, beaches, and waterways. Use VHF Channel 16 or call 911 for emergency needs.

Nearly 3,000 FEMA personnel are deployed ahead of Michael’s landfall, and search and rescue teams have been pre-positioned throughout Florida locations to assist with local and state response teams.

Commodities are staged in Alabama, Georgia and North Carolina with additional supplies being readied should there be a request. Other federal and voluntary organizations’ response activities as of 6 a.m. today include:

FEMA

  • FEMA deployed Incident Management Assistance Teams to the Florida Emergency Operations Center and the Alabama Emergency Operations Center to support readiness and response activities and ensure there are no unmet needs.
  • FEMA Mobile Emergency Response Support (MERS) units equipped with secure and non-secure voice, video and information services are deployed in Alabama, Florida and Georgia to support emergency response communications needs. Additional FEMA mobile communications vehicles are deploying to support potentially affected areas as needed and requested.
  • At all times, FEMA maintains commodities, including millions of liters of water, millions of meals and hundreds of thousands of blankets,
  • FEMA has staged meals, water, cots, blankets and other resources at Incident Support Bases, distribution centers, and sites in Alabama, Georgia and North Carolina, to support the needs of states as they exhaust their supplies until stores can reopen. The quantity of supplies on hand will fluctuate as supplies are continuously moving.

American Red Cross

  • As people are now in shelters, survivors can use the American Red Cross’s Safe and Well site to check in and find missing individuals.
  • The Red Cross is ramping up to be able to offer up to 31,000 meals per day to survivors.

U.S. Department of Defense

  • U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) forces are preparing ground transportation/high-water capable vehicles to move personnel and cargo in the affected areas, and are preparing to provide rotary wing aircraft, swift water boats and rescue personnel in support of flooding in the affected areas.

National Guard Bureau

  • Florida Gov. Rick Scott activated 2,500 Florida National Guard troops for pre-landfall coordination and planning, and to assist with immediate life-saving activities.

U. S. Coast Guard

  • Fixed and rotary wing assets are pre-staged outside of the storm track; eight shallow water rescue teams are staged in Alabama with 10 additional teams on standby; 10 boats are either pre-positioned or on standby.
  • Sixteen Coast Guard cutters are positioned to assist with search and rescue efforts.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineer’s District Emergency Operations Centers have been activated in Alabama, Florida and Georgia.
  • USACE deployed a Temporary Power Planning and Response Team and members from the 249th Engineer Battalion to provide temporary emergency power in Florida. Additional teams have been placed on alert.

U.S. Department of Energy

  • The Department of Energy (DOE) has activated its Energy Response Organization; responders deployed to the Regional Response Coordination Center, and to Florida and Georgia State Emergency Operations Centers. Additional DOE responders are on standby to deploy as needed.
  • DOE is holding daily calls with the energy industry to ensure unity of effort. Industry has activated its mutual assistance network, and crews from at least 19 states have mobilized to begin restoring power as soon as it is safe to do so.
  • Temporary power (generators, fuel, and propane) are pre-positioned in Alabama.
  • DOE is closely monitoring the availability of fuel across the Southeast. Overall, supplies of gasoline in the region are at or above the five-year range.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

  • U.S. Health and Human Services staged three teams of medical personnel from the National Disaster Medical System (NDMS) in Mobile, Ala. and Jacksonville, Fla., along with an Incident Management Team. More than 125 HHS personnel are deployed.
  • The HHS Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has made the Disaster Distress Helpline available to assist residents in the impacted area in coping with the stress caused by Hurricane Michael. To connect with a trained crisis counselor, call 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746 (for Spanish, press 2 or text Hablanos to 66746)
  • Ambulance strike teams are mobilizing to support as needed.

U.S. Department of Homeland Security National Protection and Programs Directorate

  • DHS’ National Protection and Programs Directorate (NPPD) stood up its Crisis Action Team (CAT). The CAT provides NPPD with the flexibility to rapidly expand operational focus and support affected cyber and critical infrastructure partners at the state, local, tribal and territorial government levels.

U. S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Protection

  • U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s highest priority remains the preservation of life and safety. There will be no immigration enforcement initiatives associated with evacuations or sheltering related to Michael, except in the event of a serious public safety threat.

U.S. Department of Agriculture

  • USDA’s Operations Center is functioning around the clock as USDA staff in the regional, state and county offices stand ready and eager to assist survivors.
  • USDA recently launched a disaster assistance discovery tool through its new website that provides information about disaster assistance programs offered by the USDA.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

  • NOAA’s National Ocean Service is issuing Storm Quicklooks for Michael, providing near real-time information about water levels and wind
  • NOAA scientists are monitoring potential impacts to the red tide event  in Florida and will assess the impact following the storm.

Read more at FEMA

The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.

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