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Encourages the public to take safety precautions

Following catastrophic impacts in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, Hurricane Irma continues to progress towards the Bahamas. In the aftermath, various elements coordinated by the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) are prepositioned in the Caribbean to provide support as needed to survivors of the disaster.

FEMA teams deployed to the Caribbean in advance of the storm include urban search and rescue teams, incident management assistance teams, as well as commodities – meals and water on Puerto Rico, St. Thomas, St. Croix, and St. John – pre-staged and available for use by Commonwealth and territory officials as soon as the weather cleared.

The American Red Cross Safe and Well website is a free public reunification tool that allows individuals and organizations to register and post messages to indicate that they are safe, or to search for loved ones. The site is always available (in English and Spanish) and open to the public.  Registrations and searches can be done directly on the website. Registrations can also be completed by texting SAFE to 78876. Messages exist in both Spanish and English. To speak with someone at the American Red Cross concerning a missing friend or relative, please contact 1-800 Red Cross (1-800-733-2767).

Hurricane Irma is still an incredibly dangerous storm, and its destructive winds, storm surge and heavy rainfall are now predicted to begin impacting the U.S. mainland as early as Saturday.

As of this morning, FEMA had nearly 11 million liters of water and nearly 7.5 million meals, as well as cots, blankets, generators, durable medical equipment, infant care kits, plastic sheeting and tarps for roofs, staged at the Incident Support Base at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Alabama. Additionally, FEMA has staged more than 500,000 meals and more than 1 million liters of water in Selma, Alabama.

Now is the time for all those in potentially affected areas to listen to the directions of state, local, territorial, and tribal officials. If told to evacuate, evacuate.

Storm tracks can change quickly and unexpectedly. Don’t be caught unaware. Take advantage of advance warning to get yourself and your family safe before it becomes too dangerous to do so.

If told to evacuate:

  • Listen to a battery-powered radio and follow local evacuation instructions.
  • Call or email the out-of-state contact in your family communications plan. Tell them where you are going.
  • Secure your home by closing and locking doors and windows.
  • Unplug electrical equipment such as radios, televisions and small appliances. Leave freezers and refrigerators plugged in unless there is a risk of flooding. If there is damage to your home and you are instructed to do so, shut off water, gas and electricity before leaving.
  • Leave a note telling others when you left and where you are going.
  • Wear sturdy shoes and clothing that provides some protection such as long pants, long-sleeved shirts and a hat.
  • Check with neighbors who may need a ride.
  • Follow recommended evacuation routes. Do not take shortcuts; they may be blocked.
  • Be alert for road hazards such as washed-out roads or bridges and downed power lines. Do not drive into flooded areas.

Download the FEMA mobile app (available in English and Spanish) for a customizable checklist of emergency supplies, directions to open shelters and recovery centers, disaster survival tips, and weather alerts from the National Weather Service. Visit or for additional severe weather and hurricane preparedness information and resources.


  1. Hello everybody. It is coming! Not trying to be an alarmist, but it is coming right over us, the evil eye will be coming very soon, and I HOPE we all survive! Slightly west of Orlando, is the latest on Irma’s path. Too close for comfort! My panic is starting to set in. My anxiety is at an all time high! Wish I wasn’t like this, but I can’t help it. I can’t help but think my big hardwood tree is going to fall on our home. Got some trees in the front that I am worried about also, that could fall on our truck or house too. If our house and contents is not blown away, that is…….I sure hope that Irma downgrades, and soon! I am praying for all of us and hope we ALL make it through this ordeal safely. It is going to be a lot worse than any other hurricane we Apopkans have been through here in this area, in the past, for sure!

  2. My relatives that I have talked to, think that we should have got out and left, and drove somewhere, as they said it is not worth it to stay here and look after our home and belongings. I have explained to them that where would we go? Our truck is not new, it is 11 years old with a lot of millage on it, and we could break down on the road, you can’t find gas, there are no vacancies at the hotels and motels, and we have pets. I could take my small dog, but all motels and hotels don’t allow dogs. I have several cats, and I can’t just leave them to fend for their selves, plus 2 doves and a parakeet in cages. I told them it is not that I am sitting here trying to guarding my home and belongings like a soldier, but what else can I do? I can’t get that through their heads…….

  3. Plus whatever we would take and pack, wouldn’t be too much, as whatever we would pack would have to go just in the cab of our truck, as we don’t have a camper top or king cab on our truck. Big mistake. Next time we buy another truck, it will have to have one, or the other, or both, since I got rid of my old car recently, as it gotten soooo unreliable, and I just threw up my hands and said time for it to go!…….184,000 miles and almost 24 years old! I have already damaged my right shoulder from pushing it out of the road! It has probably already gone to the crusher for scrap. It was a heavy heavy vehicle and a oldie but a goodie until recently with electrical problems, coolant leaks, head gasket leaks, had some valves that rattled. had mold growing in it (!!!) ever since the heat core hose burst and poured liquid all in the floor board. I had that by- passed but it didn’t have a defroster or defogger, or heater. Just too much to deal with, and spend more money on trying to put lipstick on a pig! Less auto insurance costs to pay, and less tag fees…….

  4. I sure hope the power doesn’t go out. That is the pits! When we have lost power in the past, at times, it got so hot in our house it was unbearable. I have a 3 months supply of medicine on hand that has to be refrigerated. I hope there is ice available somewhere, if my new refrigerator freezer goes out due to power failure. I have an ice supply for now……..but no generator.

  5. I’ve got 3 big office water cooler bottles to fill with water to use, and numerous other soda bottles filled with water, and some of them frozen too. I did not buy bottled water. I never buy bottled water, but may have to someday.

  6. Now this may sound crazy but if the winds start roaring and howling and it gets really scary and horrible you need to get out your hard hats, whether bike helmets, construction hard hats, motorcycle helmets, football helmets, whatever…….and wear them on your head, to at least protect your head. I know that sounds goofy but maybe it will protect our noggins…….

  7. I remember a woman that was talking about Hurricane Andrew, in the aftermath, and she said that as Andrew was approaching where she was, she said it had this incredible roaring noise that was almost deafening. I hope that is not how it will be here! I really don’t know what to expect, as I have been through a lot of hurricanes, but not one of this size or power. She said it was one of the scariest experiences of her life, and that she will never go through another hurricane, if she can get away

  8. Richard Brannon, the Virgin Airlines owner billionaire has survived Irma on his 74 acre private island paradise in the Caribbean that he refused to leave and get out when told to. He and his son and crew got down in his wine cellar. Hmm…no wine cellar here, LOL. I am not even a wine lover, I like liquor and beer…LOL, but don’t drink much anymore due to the meds I have to take, but I did get some Canadian whiskey to have on hand, because that is what I like. I had some last night, oh yes, and it put me right to sleep, LOL. The damage to Brannon’s island paradise was very extensive and a lot of the buildings there were destroyed. His son said if Hurricane Irma is coming your way, to find a strong substantial building to stay in and hunker down, because you will need one to get through this one!!!!

  9. I have one of those LED lanterns that is a bright LED light and battery powered. That lantern has set on my dresser for the longest time, and I would occasionally turn it on, and it would light up. I turned it on yesterday, and the batteries were dead. That is weird, it always worked before. It knew the hurricane was coming……. Bet I can’t find D batteries anywhere. We got a couple of battery powered spotlights and a bunch of little flashlights. Stores sold out of the spotlights.

  10. We didn’t go get any sandbags. I thought about it, but I didn’t want to have to lug those heavy bags around. I figured if we placed them in front of our doors, piled across, how would I get out of the doors???….LOL I hope there is no flooding, because I am not prepared for that! Sure hope we won’t look like Houston area with all the household debris piled up on the neighborhood streets, after this hurricane! We all may be livin’ like refugees after this one. The song, that goes “you don’t have to live like a refugee”…keeps playing in my head……..



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