As Hurricane Earl prepares to approach North Carolina tonight, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) says it is preparing for the storm and supporting state and local officials along the East Coast as they work to protect their communities.
FEMA strongly encourages all East Coast residents to take steps now to prepare for severe weather in the coming days.
Governors in North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland and Massachusetts have declared states of emergency. Governor Jodi Rell of Connecticut has asked for a “pre-landfall” declaration of emergency so the state would be eligible for extra federal funds for public safety and security if necessary.
On the current forecast track, Hurricane Earl, currently a Category 3 hurricane, will pass near the North Carolina Outer Banks tonight and approach southeastern New England Friday.
“We continue to monitor Hurricane Earl and remain in close contact with state and local officials from North Carolina to Maine to ensure they have the resources to respond if needed,” said FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate. “Today needs to be a day of action for those Americans living along the East Coast in potentially impacted communities. ”
FEMA encourage residents along the eastern seaboard to visit Ready.gov and take steps to keep their family safe and secure. The most important thing for people to do right now is to listen to and follow the instruction of their local officials, especially for evacuation orders, according to FEMA.
FEMA maintains supplies across the country to support states in emergency response, and is sending additional supplies to East Coast states, in case they become needed. FEMA said it is moving roughly 400,000 liters of water, 300,000 meals, 54 generators to an Incident Support Base (ISB) location in Ft. Bragg, N.C. About 213,120 meals and 162,000 liters of water, 41 generators, and 12,500 tarps are also being relocated to an Incident Support Base in Westover, Mass.
Federal and other support includes:
- FEMA has activated the National Response Coordination Center and its Regional Response Coordination Centers in all four of its regional offices in the eastern United States, located in Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and Atlanta. Incident Management Assistance Teams have been deployed to North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont and Maine.
- Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has transported and is pre-positioning caches of medical equipment and supplies in the northeast, and additional caches of medical equipment and supplies are prepared for deployment. Seven National Disaster Medical Teams and hundreds of U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps officers are on alert.
- Department of Defense (DoD) has positioned a Defense Coordinating Element in the FEMA Regional Response Coordination Center in New York. DoD also has a Defense Coordinating Officer in St. Thomas, Massachusetts and Georgia. State Emergency Preparedness Liaison Officers are in Puerto Rico and in the Virgin Islands.
- U.S. NORTHCOM’s Hurricane Hunters continue to conduct weather reconnaissance flyovers.
- U.S. Coast Guard (USCG)‘s First Coast Guard District Units are assessing their storm readiness to ensure search and rescue capability is preserved. This is being done to make sure that the Coast Guard can effectively respond to rescue cases in the immediate aftermath of the storm. The Coast Guard is conducting extensive public outreach to remind boaters to properly secure vessels, beware of dangerous surf along the shoreline which has the potential to sweep storm watchers into the water, and beware of strong rip currents. The Coast Guard has closed ports in North Carolina.
- American Red Cross has deployed more than 350 trained disaster workers to North Carolina, Massachusetts and Rhode Island, along with more than 60 emergency vehicles. Red Cross shelters are expected to open in North Carolina today and additional shelters are poised to open New York, Massachusetts and Rhode Island, with emergency planning continuing in ten other states along the coast. U p-to-date shelter location information is readily available on www.redcross.org by clicking “Find a Shelter.”
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