Hurricane Matthew; Be Prepared
People who live in hurricane-prone coastal areas should know their vulnerability to wind and flooding, as well as what to do to reduce the effects of both. People who live inland from coastal areas may also experience high winds, power outages, and flooding from torrential rain. Protecting yourself today means having sources for information, preparing your home or workplace, developing an emergency communications plan, and knowing what to do when a hurricane is approaching your community. Taking action today can save lives and property. Know your hurricane risk. Your risk from hurricanes is based on where you live, the structure of your home, and your personal circumstances. People who live on the coast are most at risk for extreme winds and flooding from rain and storm surge. People who live inland are at risk for wind, thunderstorms, and flooding. Hurricanes also cause widespread power outages, which may be a risk factor for people who need power-dependent medical devices. Visit http://hazards.fema.gov/femaportal/prelimdownload to learn about your property’s projected risk to flood hazards.
Know how to stay informed. Receiving timely information about weather conditions or other emergency events can make all the difference in knowing when to take action to be safe.
Monitor weather reports provided by your local media.
Many communities have text or email alerting systems for emergency notifications. To find out what alerts are available in your area, do an Internet search with your town, city, or county name and the term "alerts."
Consider buying a NOAA Weather Radio (NWR) All Hazards receiver, which receives broadcast alerts directly from NWS. You can purchase these at many retail outlets, such as electronics and big box stores, or online. Some NWR receivers are designed to work with external notification devices with visual and vibrating alerts for people who are deaf or hard of hearing. For more information on NWR receivers, visit: www.nws.noaa.gov/nwr/nwrrcvr.htm.
Think about how you will stay informed if there is a power outage. Have extra batteries for a battery-operated radio and your cell phone. Consider having a hand crank radio or cell phone charger.
Know your evacuation routes; plan your transportation and identify a place to stay. To ensure that you will be able to act quickly should the need arise, you need to plan ahead.
Know your community’s local hurricane evacuation plan and identify several escape routes from your location in case roads are blocked. Include plans to evacuate people with disabilities and others with access and functional needs, as well as pets, service animals, and livestock.
If you plan to evacuate by car, keep your car fueled and in good condition. Keep emergency supplies and a change of clothes in your car.
If you will need to share transportation, make arrangements now. If you will need to use public transportation, including paratransit, contact your local government emergency management agency to ask how an evacuation will work, how you will get current information during an evacuation, the location of staging areas, and other information.
If you will need to relocate for an extended period of time, identify a place away from home where you could go if you had to leave. Consider family or friends who live outside of the local area.
If you expect to go to a shelter after evacuating, download the American Red Cross Shelter Finder App at www.redcross.org/mobile-apps/shelter-finder-app. This app displays a map of all open American Red Cross shelters, and provides the capacity and the current population of each shelter. You can also text SHELTER + your ZIP code to 43362 (4FEMA) to find the nearest shelter in your area.
If you have pets and plan to go to a shelter, call to inquire whether the shelter can accommodate your pets. Shelters will accept service animals.