Important Public Service Information/FEMA


Hurricane Matthew Expected to Impact Atlantic States

According to recent information from FEMA, Matthew is a major hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Scale with sustained winds near 145 miles per hour (MPH) and while some fluctuations in intensity are possible during the next couple of days, this storm is expected to remain a powerful hurricane. According to the National Hurricane Center, the current forecast models for impact to the United States vary greatly from direct landfall to remaining offshore along the East Coast.


The How to Prepare for a Hurricane guide from America’s PrepareAthon! outlines step you can take today to protect yourself and your property before a hurricane hits, including:


  • Know your community’s local hurricane evacuation plan and identify several escape routes from your location in case roads are blocked;
  • If you plan to evacuate by car, keep your car fueled and in good condition and be sure to keep emergency supplies and a change of clothes in your vehicle;
  • If you will need to use public transportation, contact your local government emergency management agency to ask how an evacuation will work, how you will get current information during an evacuation, and the location of staging areas;
  • Stay away from water, shorelines, areas that are prone to flooding, and low land areas that may be dry but prone to flash flooding;
  • Listen to alerts and warnings and be prepared to get to high ground immediately if there is a flash flood;
  • Never walk or drive through floodwaters: Turn Around, Don’t Drown!;
  • If you are not in an evacuation zone or flood area, know where to shelter for high winds and be prepared with sufficient supplies to remain on high ground until flooding in nearby areas subsides;
  • Waterproof your home’s basement and elevate critical utilities such as electrical panels and heating systems; and
  • If it’s safe to do, plan to bring inside or anchor any items that might be blown away and become projectiles in high winds. Anchor outdoor grills, fuel tanks, and other items that are not safe to bring inside.

To learn more about preparing for hurricanes, check out “When the Waves Swell” from America’s PrepareAthon! and download the FEMA mobile app which will give you real-time weather updates and alerts. Be sure to share with family, friends, and neighbors.


Keep Your Cool in Hot Weather

Summer is in full swing and temperatures are heating up across the nation. According to the National Weather Service (NWS), heat is one of the leading causes of weather-related deaths in the United States, resulting in hundreds of fatalities each year and even more heat-related illnesses such as heat stroke, heat cramps, and heat exhaustion. The best line of defense against these illnesses is prevention. The Ready Campaign offers the following tips to stay safe when the mercury rises:

  • Stay indoors as much as possible and limit exposure to the sun;
  • Stay on the lowest level out of the sun if air conditioning is unavailable;
  • Eat well-balanced, light, and regular meals;
  • Dress in loose-fitting, lightweight, and light-colored clothes that cover as much skin as possible; and
  • Avoid doing strenuous work outside during the warmest part of the day.

When necessary, NWS issues heat-related alerts to help you prepare for extreme weather conditions. To learn more about these alerts and how they impact you, visit: www.nws.noaa.gov/om/heat/ww.shtml.


Houses of Worship Participate in Preparedness

The Department of Homeland Security Center for Faith-based & Neighborhood Partnerships presents the “Resources to Help Prepare Houses of Worship for Emergencies” webinar. The webinar shares resources available through the Department of Justice, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Department of Homeland Security to help houses of worship create emergency operations plans. Presenters also discuss the importance of building relationships with first responders and how organizations can prepare for natural disasters and active shooter situations. Response to the discussion was great, with more than 1,100 attendees and positive feedback from participants. The webinar has also received national publicity on the Fortune Magazine website, and in a local news story on CBS affiliate WLTX in Columbia, South Carolina. If you were unable to attend the original webinar session, the recorded presentation is available with closed captioning at: https://icpd.adobeconnect.com/p6jrqxbd8gw/. Faith and community leaders can also download resources to assist with preparing for emergency situations.



Individual and Community Preparedness

Fire is Everyone's Fight

Fire is a continuous battle in the United States for the public and fire service. That’s why the U.S. Fire Administration is sponsoring Fire is Everyone’s Fight™, an initiative to raise public awareness about the importance of fire prevention and fire safety.

This campaign invites fire departments, safety advocates, community groups and schools to share the message about the realities of fire in an effort to help reduce home fires, deaths and property loss. The initiative includes targeted messages in key areas such as cooking, smoke alarms and escape planning.

Did you know 76 percent of all fire injuries occur in residential buildings? We all have a role in making sure fires don’t start. Join the movement! Register to receive exclusive access to outreach materials and download the campaign action plan to find out how you can support this national initiative in your home and neighborhood!


You’re Stranded, Now What?

Some parts of the country experience extreme winter weather including blizzards. If a blizzard traps you in your car, do you know how to survive?
Taking the following steps can help you stay safe until you are found:

  • Don’t walk around in the snow to look for help. You might lose your way or become exhausted;
  • Remember to occasionally check your tailpipe to make sure it’s free of snow. Clean the pipe to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning when the engine is running.
  • Keep yourself moving! A car offers very little room, but exercise is essential; and
  • Make the car visible for a rescue! Hang bright colored cloth or plastic from the windows. If the snow has stopped falling, open the hood of the car as a signal of distress.

If you have a cell phone call 911 to ask for help. Do not hang up until you know whom you have spoken with and what will happen next. You can also sign up for wireless emergency alerts before you travel to receive life-saving alerts wherever you are. Items found in your vehicle emergency supply kit can assist you until help arrives. Take a look at this video from The Weather Channel showing how to prepare your winter car supply kit, including items you may not think of.


Tech Savvy

The Internet and social media are the third most popular way for Americans to gather and share emergency information with loved ones. With effective planning, it is possible to take advantage of technology before, during and after a crisis to communicate with family and friends. Here are some ways to incorporate technology into your emergency plans:

  • Learn how to send text updates from your mobile phone to your contacts in case voice communications are not available;
  • Program “In Case of Emergency” contacts into your cell phone so emergency personnel can contact those people for you if you are unable to use your phone;
  • Purchase a solar powered or hand crank charger to keep your electronics running if you lose power at home; and
  • If you do not have a cell phone, keep a prepaid phone card to use during or after a disaster.

FEMA offers several ways to be tech savvy for disaster preparedness. The FEMA smartphone app contains an interactive emergency kit list, emergency meeting location info and more to help you get started. It’s available for Apple, Blackberry and Android devices. Increase your technological know-how by joining the text message program to receive regular safety tips for specific hazards and to search for open shelters and disaster recovery centers.


Flat Stanley Helps Kids Be Safe Online

The Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) Stop.Think.Connect. public awareness campaign is joining the Flat Stanley Project to help kids learn the importance of cybersecurity. By downloading and using the Flat Stanley App, kids will be able to create their own "Flat Stanley" and "Flat Stella" character and send it on a tour of the Internet to learn about staying safe online and helping spread the word about cybersecurity.

The Flat Stanley App can be useful for kids, parents and teachers to start a discussion about online safety. Children will find simple tips on the app that encourage them to:

  • Be careful about what information they share;
  • Avoid sharing passwords with anyone except their parents; and
  • Never talk to strangers online or agree to meet someone in person.

With kids spending more time than ever before on the Internet and social media, the partnership with the Flat Stanley Project allows the Department to further its efforts to raise cybersecurity awareness among young Americans. To learn about what DHS is doing to keep kids safe online and for other cybersecurity tips, please visit http://www.dhs.gov/stopthinkconnect.


Don’t wait for a disaster… MAKE A BASIC EMERGENCY KIT!

Recommended Supplies to Include in a Basic Kit:Disaster Kit

  • Water one gallon per person per day, for drinking and sanitation
  • Food, at least three-day supply of non-perishable good
  • Battery-powered radio and extra batteries
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • First aid kit
  • Whistle to signal for help
  • Important documents in a waterproof container
  • Moist towelettes for sanitation
  • Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
  • Manual can opener for food (if kit contains canned food)
  • Garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
  • Unique family needs, such as daily prescription medications, infant formula, or diapers, and important family documents

  • For the most current information and recommendations, go online to www.readysouthflorida.org or visit the Ready South Florida group page on Facebook.

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