Coastal Georgia Residents Urged to Join Hurricane Registry

May 7, 2018

Health officials along Georgia’s coast are encouraging residents who qualify to get their names on the Hurricane Registry.

The Savannah Morning News reports that people with functional, access, or medical needs can receive help when hurricanes threaten Georgia’s coast.

The registry is a list maintained by the county health department of residents who may need transportation or medical assistance and have no resources such as family members, neighbors, or friends to help them evacuate.

The newspaper reports that 219 people are on Chatham County’s list, down from a high of 267 last year. Applications surged at the last minute ahead of Hurricane Irma in September.

“Our numbers doubled overnight before Irma,” said Tammi Brown, the Chatham County Health Department’s nurse manager.

“We had a 24-hour cutoff,” she said. “That was just not enough time.”

With Irma nearing, health officials scrambled to juggle sign-ups with the actual process of evacuating residents. It was chaotic, Brown said, and she’s instituted an earlier cutoff to avoid a repeat of the situation.

Now, residents must sign up at least 72 hours prior to the arrival of tropical storm force winds.

“Our focus ought to be on getting everyone on the list out of the county,” Brown said.

Hurricane season starts June 1 and runs through November, typically peaking in September. Early predictions for the 2018 season from the Colorado State University’s Tropical Meteorology Project call for a “slightly above-average” season.

Among those who qualify for the list: People with functional or access needs, including children or adults with physical, sensory, or intellectual disabilities who need assistance with the various activities of daily living. They will be evacuated to a gymnasium-type setting far enough inland so that they are safe from the storm.

Also, people with medical needs – including those who need the help of trained medical professionals for things like IV medication or who may be dependent on a respirator or dialysis or other medical equipment – may be taken to an inland healthcare facility.

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