Special to Lake Okeechobee News
WASHINGTON -- President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. approved Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’s request for an emergency declaration on Sept. 24, ahead of Tropical Storm Ian. The declaration authorizes FEMA to provide support for debris removal and emergency protective measures, including direct federal assistance under the public assistance program.
As Tropical Storm Ian develops, its track and intensity will change. Residents in Florida should ensure they have their hurricane plans in place and closely monitor local media for forecast updates, directions provided by their local officials and heed local evacuation orders.
Evacuate if you are told to do so. Learn your evacuation routes and have a family emergency plan. Make sure you plan for your pets, as not all evacuation shelters accept pets. If you are a person with disabilities, you may need to take additional steps to plan for both your needs and your service animal.
You can also search for open shelters by texting SHELTER and your ZIP code to 43362. Example: Shelter 01234 (standard rates apply).
Have several ways to receive alerts. Download the recently updated free FEMA App (available in English and Spanish) to receive real-time emergency alerts from the National Weather Service and find a nearby shelter.
Visit Ready.gov or Listo.gov to learn how you can keep yourself, your family and your pets safe.
Prepare Now for a Hurricane
- Now is the time to plan. Take these steps to make sure you’re ready:
- Review important documents. Make sure your insurance policies and personal documents, like IDs, are up to date. Make copies and keep them in a secure password protected digital space.
- It’s not too late to create a plan with your family. Visit Ready.gov/plan and use the new “Make A Plan” fillable form to walk you through all the steps to begin your plan and then easily save an electronic copy, or share with other family members. Many shelters do not take household pets, remember to create a plan and have supplies for your pets.
- Prepare or update your emergency supply kit. Your kit should include supplies you may need at home as well as a “go kit” if you must evacuate quickly. Include items members of your family may need for several days, including prescription medications or special medical devices. Make sure you include any needed pet supplies. After a hurricane, you may not have access to these supplies for days or weeks.
- 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.
- Older adults may need extra assistance to prepare for the storm. Visit Ready.gov/seniors for more information. For people with disabilities and their families, it is important to consider individual circumstances and needs to effectively prepare for emergencies and disasters. Visit Individuals with Disabilities | Ready.gov to learn more.
- 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.
Federal Actions Ahead of Ian
- FEMA maintains commodities strategically located at distribution centers throughout the United States and its territories. We are moving supplies from Atlanta to locations in Alabama ahead of the storm.
- The agency has more than 4,000 reservists available to deploy to support any future disasters. Additionally, more than 7,500 Surge Capacity Force members are rostered to deploy if needed.
- FEMA Region 4 Response Coordination Center in Atlanta and the National Response Coordination Center in Washington, D.C., activated today. This will help us coordinate federal, state, local, territorial and tribal activity.
- FEMA deployed one national and one regional Incident Management Team to Atlanta to support any state response needs ahead of the storm.
- FEMA activated three Urban Search and Rescue Type 3 Teams to Florida to support state response efforts.