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AS TROPICAL STORM LEE CONTINUES TO DEVELOP, FEMA URGES CITIZENS TO
BE PREPARED

Families Should Visit Ready.gov to Learn Steps to Prepare for Severe Weather 

WASHINGTON - As Tropical Storm Lee develops in the Gulf of Mexico, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is urging residents, especially those living in coastal areas, to closely monitor the storm and follow the advice of their local officials.  Gulf Coast residents should be prepared flooding and other hazards related to tropical storms, and to visit www.ready.gov/floods for more information.  

FEMA, through its regional offices in Denton, Texas, and Atlanta is closely monitoring the storm and working in close coordination with state and local emergency management officials in Louisiana and other Gulf Coast states that could be impacted. At the request of the state of Louisiana, FEMA has deployed a liaison officer to the Governor's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP) emergency operations center (EOC), and an Incident Management and Assistance Team (IMAT) is en route to the state, and additional IMATs and liaisons are currently on standby for deployment to other Gulf state emergency operations centers, if requested.   

"As we continue to monitor the storm, FEMA is leaning forward to support our state, tribal and local partners across the Gulf Coast to ensure they have the resources to respond, if needed," said FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate. "The most important thing for people living in the storm's potential path to do is to listen to and follow the instructions of their local officials, and know your local evacuation routes so you and your family are prepared this season. Lee is an important reminder to all of us that we are still in the early stages of our most active part of hurricane season, and the entire team needs to be ready to prepare for, respond to and recover these from storms."

History has taught us that storm tracks can change quickly and unexpectedly, and there are areas along the Gulf where flooding or flash flooding may occur.  Don't put yourself at risk; follow the instructions of local officials.  Everyone should get familiar with the terms that are used to identify a flooding hazard and discuss with your family what to do if a flood watch or warning is issued.  Terms used to describe a flooding hazard include the following:

ˇ         Flood Watch: Flooding is possible. Tune in to NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio, or television for information

ˇ         Flash Flood Watch: Flash flooding is possible. Be prepared to move to higher ground; listen to NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio, or television for information.

ˇ         Flood Warning: Flooding is occurring or will occur soon; if advised to evacuate, do so immediately.

ˇ         Flash Flood Warning: A flash flood is occurring; seek higher ground on foot immediately.

Remember, turn around, don't drown.  The reason that so many people drown during flooding is because few of them realize the incredible power of water.  A mere six inches of fast-moving flood water can knock over an adult. It takes only two feet of rushing water to carry away most vehicles. This includes pickups and SUVs.  Learn more on how to prepare for these and other hazards at www.Ready.gov.

As FEMA monitors and prepares for Tropical Storm Lee, and continues to watch Hurricane Katia out in the Atlantic, we are also continuing to support states as they recover from Hurricane Irene. For more updates on those efforts, visit www.fema.gov/blog.

Follow FEMA online at http://blog.fema.gov, www.twitter.com/fema, www.facebook.com/fema, and www.youtube.com/fema.  Also, follow Administrator Craig Fugate's activities at www.twitter.com/craigatfema. 

The social media links provided are for reference only. FEMA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies or applications. 

FEMA's mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.

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FEMA URGES RESIDENTS TO CONTINUE FOLLOWING THE DIRECTIONS OF
LOCAL OFFICIALS

FEMA and Federal Partners Have Teams and Assets up and down the East Coast to Support State and Local Response and Recovery Efforts 

WASHINGTON - As Tropical Storm Irene moves up the East Coast, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) continues to coordinate closely with state, tribal and local officials to ensure they have the resources they need for immediate response efforts.  FEMA urges all residents along the coast to continue to follow the directions of state and local officials, prepare for flash flooding and severe weather, and take precautions when returning to their homes or businesses.

As FEMA continues coordinating closely with all its federal, state, tribal and local partners, as well as private sector groups, faith-based and voluntary organizations, and other partners, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate continue to provide daily briefings to President Obama on these efforts. This morning the President convened a video teleconference call in the White House Situation Room to receive an update on the storm and its impacts. Vice President Biden, Chief of Staff Daley, DHS Secretary Napolitano, Treasury Secretary Geithner, Transportation Secretary LaHood, Energy Secretary Chu, FEMA Administrator Fugate, Homeland Security Advisor Brennan and other senior White House officials participated in the call. 

Under the direction of President Obama and Secretary Janet Napolitano, the entire federal family is leaning forward to support our state, tribal and territorial partners along the East Coast.  FEMA has been in constant contact, through its regional offices (in Atlanta, Boston, New York City and Philadelphia), with the governors and local officials of communities along the East Coast.  The President has signed pre-disaster emergency declarations for the states of Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Rhode Island and Virginia, as well as the District of Columbia, making available federal support to save lives and to protect property and public health and safety.  Yesterday, the President also declared a major disaster for Puerto Rico, which makes federal disaster assistance available to affected individuals to help cover damage to their properties or other personal losses caused by Irene. 

Although the National Hurricane Center has indicated that Irene has weakened to a Tropical Storm, residents in the Northeast still need to prepare for severe weather and flooding, a point Administrator Fugate emphasized at a press conference Sunday with Secretary Napolitano.

"Regardless of its status as hurricane or tropical storm, Irene is still very large and dangerous, and those in its path need to be prepared for severe weather, including the risks of flash flooding," said FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate. "As the storm begins to subside in some areas, it's important to continue to follow the directions of state and local officials, avoid downed power lines and flooded roads, and of course wait for the all clear before returning home." 

Emergency shelters remain open in coordination with states, localities and the Red Cross along the East Coast up to New England. The Red Cross has shelter information available for residents who need to know where they can go.  This information continues to be updated at www.redcross.org

As evacuated areas begin to reopen, it is understandable that residents of those states will be anxious to return home following the storm, but it's important to be patient and to wait for the all clear from local officials.  There may be hazards such as downed power lines, road closures, roads or bridges that are impassable, and non-working traffic lights.  Drivers should never attempt to traverse flooded streets, as it takes only two feet of rush water to carry away most vehicles, including pickups and SUVs.

It's also important to remember that those living inland can still experience flash flooding and other severe weather, as well as power outages.  The Consumer Product Safety Commission warns that portable generators should never be used indoors or in garages, basements or sheds. The exhaust from generators contains high levels of carbon monoxide that can quickly incapacitate and kill. 

FEMA currently has proactively positioned a total of eighteen Incident Management Assistance Teams (IMATs) along the coast to coordinate with state, tribal and local officials to identify needs and shortfalls affecting potential disaster response and recovery. Six national urban search and rescue teams remain on alert in the event that search and rescue support is needed, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has deployed a total of five Disaster Medical Assistance Teams to staging areas.   

Federal and state teams are working together to begin assessments of damages in North Carolina, Virginia and Maryland, and will begin doing so soon in other states hit by the storm, as soon as affected areas are safe to access. FEMA community relations teams are fanning out to shelters in affected areas in North Carolina and are being mobilized to support other states affected by Irene to help inform disaster survivors about available services and resources.

The U.S. Department of Defense has positioned defense coordinating officers at FEMA's national response coordination center in Washington, D.C., and in FEMA regional response coordination centers in Boston, New York City, Philadelphia, and Atlanta to support and coordinate any requests for defense assets and personnel. In advance of Hurricane Irene, the Department of Defense is also supporting Incident Support Bases at Fort Bragg, N.C., and Westover Army Reserve Base and Joint Base McGuire/Dix/Lakehurst, N.J., for FEMA to stage commodities.   

More than 1,200 National Guard men and women across seven states were called up to help coordination with Hurricane Irene efforts, and there are more than 83,000 National Guard personnel available in the affected states that can be activated to assist with hurricane relief efforts if needed.  The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) has personnel in place at FEMA's national response coordination center and in the FEMA regional response coordination centers.  The USACE also has power response teams in place in North Carolina, New Jersey, Maryland, and Massachusetts, and is prepared to deploy debris and roofing response teams to assist state and local partners as they work to restore power to affected areas. 

At all times, FEMA maintains commodities, including millions of liters of water, millions of meals and hundreds of thousands of blankets.  These items are strategically located at distribution centers throughout the United States and its territories.  In Atlanta, for instance, FEMA has more than two million liters of water, 1.3 million meals, 16,000 cots and 56,000 blankets.   

As the storm clears, FEMA will begin conducting joint preliminary damage assessments with state partners in the affected states, and will continue to coordinate with states and the private sector to support power restoration efforts and debris removal. 

FEMA encourages everyone, regardless of where they live, to take steps to ensure their families, homes and businesses are prepared for a possible emergency.  As a reminder, the month of September is designated as National Preparedness Month (NPM). This serves as an opportunity to encourage Americans to be prepared for disasters or emergencies in their homes, businesses, and communities. Individuals and families can learn about events and activities, and groups can register to become a NPM Coalition Member by visiting http://community.fema.gov.  NPM is sponsored by the Ready Campaign in partnership with Citizen Corps and The Ad Council.  

Follow FEMA online at http://blog.fema.gov, www.twitter.com/fema, www.facebook.com/fema, and www.youtube.com/fema.  Also, follow FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate's activities at www.twitter.com/craigatfema. 

The social media links provided are for reference only. FEMA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies or applications.  

FEMA's mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.

 

 

 

 

 
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