Special to Lake Okeechobee News
WASHINGTON -- Florida officials waived toll collections to facilitate evacuations as local officials issued mandatory and voluntary evacuation orders in anticipation of Hurricane Ian. Anyone ordered to evacuate should do so as soon as possible. If you are not in an evacuation zone, consider sheltering in place, but know your home and its ability to withstand strong winds. Evacuation orders can be found at www.floridadisaster.org/evacuation-orders.
The NHC issued hurricane and tropical storm warnings for portions of Florida’s west coast. Hurricane Ian is expected to bring life-threatening storm surge along much of the state’s west coast, with the highest risk from Fort Myers to the Tampa Bay region. Considerable flooding is expected across portions of Florida and into southern Georgia and South Carolina.
Anyone in Florida should closely monitor local media for forecast updates, directions provided by local officials and to heed local evacuation orders. It is critical that anyone ordered to evacuate, does so immediately. Make sure you plan for your pets as not all evacuation shelters accept pets.
Safety Issues for Residents
- Manufactured homes are extremely vulnerable. If you live in a manufactured home, determine where you will go before the storm hits, as these types of structures may not withstand hurricane wind or surge damage.
- Download the FEMA App. Use this free app to receive local weather alerts and warnings.
- Have an emergency supply kit. Your kit should include supplies you and your family would need for several days, including medications and any needed pet supplies. After a hurricane, you may not have access to these supplies for days.
- Check on neighbors. As you prepare your family and loved ones for a disaster, check on neighbors and folks in your community to see if they are doing the same or help them get started.
- Determine if you need any special assistance before or after the storm. If you undergo routine treatments administered by a clinic or hospital, find out their emergency plans and work with them to identify back-up service providers.
- Flood Insurance. Your National Flood Insurance Program policy will cover and reimburse certain actions you take to minimize damage to your home and belongings before a flood.
- Prepare for Power Outages. Take an inventory of the items you need that rely on electricity. Plan for batteries and other alternative power sources to meet your needs when the power goes out. Have enough nonperishable food and water. Talk to your medical provider about a power outage plan for medical devices powered by electricity and refrigerated medicines.
Federal Actions Ahead of Ian
- On Saturday, President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. approved Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’s request for an emergency declaration. The declaration authorizes FEMA to support the state’s response efforts ahead of Ian. More than 4,000 Florida National Guard members are now supporting the response.
- FEMA is prepositioning supplies and personnel to strategic locations in Georgia, Florida and Alabama. This will allow us to get help where it needs to be as soon as possible. Ordered supplies for staging at Maxwell Airforce Base in Alabama include 3.5 million liters of water, 3.7 million meals and 6,380 cots.
- The agency has nearly 3,500 reservist personnel available to deploy to support. Additionally, more than 7,500 Surge Capacity Force members are rostered to deploy if needed. The agency is establishing a personnel mobilization center to expedite forward movement when needed.
- One Incident Management Team is deployed to Atlanta and two others are at the State Emergency Operations Center in Tallahassee. A Mobile Emergency Response Support team is also in Tallahassee to support any state coordination needs.
- Three Mobile Communications Operation Vehicles are en route to Maxwell Air Force Base. Two Mobile Emergency Operations Vehicles are in Florida.
- All requested Urban Search and Rescue resources have arrived at their staging areas. Two task forces and an incident support team are in Miami and another task force is in Montgomery, Alabama.
- A U.S. Army Corps of Engineers power restoration team is deploying to Craig Field in Alabama ahead of the storm. FEMA also pre-staged 117 generators and 128,000 gallons of fuel.
- FEMA activated a medical support contract for 52 ambulances and 100 paratransit seats. These resources are staged at Orange County in Florida. Additional ambulances and medical air transport were ordered.
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services activated the National Disaster Medical System and deployed Incident Management Team personnel to Florida and Georgia. Two health and medical task forces are staging in Atlanta.