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Friday, August 25, 2006

Ernesto Preparations

Recovery News

August 25, 2006
Joint Information Center Media Contact:
FEMA/Mississippi News Desk: 228-385-5611


BILOXI, Miss. – Tropical Storm Ernesto is approaching the Gulf of Mexico and could be a hurricane by the end of the weekend. Are you ready?

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) say though a storm or hurricane may not come here, now is the time to finalize evacuation plans and make emergency preparations.

“The key message of the state’s ‘Stay Alert. Stay Alive’ hurricane preparedness campaign this year was to plan before the hurricane season,” said Mike Womack, MEMA’s interim director. “If folks haven’t already done so, now is the time.”

The plan should include an evacuation plan, a communication plan and a disaster supply kit.

“All those in travel trailers and mobile homes must evacuate when the order is given; no one is safe in them during a tropical storm or hurricane,” said Nick Russo, federal coordinating officer for the Mississippi recovery. “It is unlawful to move these temporary units because it is unsafe to do so and because they are federal property.”

Russo said FEMA will replace travel trailers and mobile homes if they are damaged beyond repair by a severe storm.

If local officials order an evacuation, travel trailer and mobile home occupants are advised to:

Leave unit in place;
Close and lock windows and roof vents;
Turn off electricity at the main circuit breaker;
Turn off main water valve outside unit and disconnect the hose;
Turn off the two propane tanks outside by tightening valves clockwise;
Take any items that may spoil out of your freezer and refrigerator;
Locate shelters or safe places to go before a storm;
Make arrangements for pets because most shelters do not allow them;
Establish a place to meet family members if separated and determine an out-of-state telephone number to use so others can find you after a storm (it’s usually easier to call in and out of state rather than within after a storm).

“Residents should familiarize themselves with evacuation routes now,” said Womack. “Routes are posted at www.mdot.state.ms.us.” “If you don’t have transportation, contact your local emergency management organization to make arrangements.”

Keep Eyes On Tropics…page two

MEMA and FEMA officials also ask residents to get their disaster kits ready immediately and store them in a portable container in case of evacuation.

The kit should include:

At least a three-day supply of food and bottled water for each family member;
Manual can opener;
Battery-powered radio and flashlights with extra batteries;
First aid kit with family members’ medications;
Hygiene and personal care items;
Emergency contact list and phone numbers;
Pet supplies;
Copies of important papers including insurance policies and bank account information;
Emergency cash or credit card in case of an evacuation with little notice.

“If Mississippians go through a check list of what to do and what to gather now and prepare to evacuate as soon as the order is given, they should be safe,” said Womack. “Residents’ safety is our concern but it’s ultimately their responsibility.”

For more information about disaster planning, visit: www.ready.gov. Emergency traffic routes or evacuation plans for Mississippi may be found at: http://www.mdot.state.ms.us/cetrp/default.htm.

FEMA manages federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident. FEMA also initiates mitigation activities, works with state and local emergency managers, and manages the National Flood Insurance Program. FEMA became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on March 1, 2003.


Ted Stuckey
Public Information Officer
Transitional Recovery Office
Biloxi, Mississippi
228-385-5088 – Office
703-254-7711 - Cell
228-385-5611 – News Desk


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