Heed Warnings from Local Officials in Hurricane Irma’s Path

Posted on September 7, 2017

Miami, Florida – As destructive winds, storm surge and heavy rainfall move through the Caribbean, with the threat of potential impacts in Florida and the mid-Atlantic region later this week into next, FEMA continues to encourage residents to take action now, heed local warnings and prepare for a potentially life-threatening situation.

All those in potentially affected areas should 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.

For those in the Caribbean where the storm system is already impacting the area, remain in a safe shelter away from windows. Turn your refrigerator or freezer to the coldest setting and open only when necessary, so if you lose power, food will last longer. Keep a thermometer in the refrigerator to be able to check the food temperature when the power is restored. Turn on your TV/radio, or check your city/county website every 30 minutes in order to get the latest weather updates and emergency instructions.

Download the FEMA mobile app (available in English and Spanish) for a customizable checklist of emergency supplies, maps of open shelters and recovery centers, disaster survival tips, and weather alerts from the National Weather Service. The app also enables users to receive push notifications reminding them to take important steps to prepare their homes and families for disasters. Visit www.ready.gov or www.listo.gov for more severe weather and hurricane preparedness information and resources.

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