Helpful Preparedness Tips for Those Bracing for Tropical Storm Isaac

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(UPDATED, 8/29)

From:

U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Federal Emergency Management Agency
Office of Disability Integration and Coordination


Hurricane and Tropical Storm Watches and Warnings in Effect

  • As Isaac moves onshore, residents of the Central Gulf Coast states should remain alert for sustained winds, heavy rains, and isolated tornados. Those in the risk areas should stay alert for downed trees, power lines, and flying debris.
  • Isaac is a large tropical system moving very slowly. As the storm makes its way into Louisiana today, its slow pace and heavy rains will increase flood risks for low-lying areas, including communities near streams, creeks and lakes.
  • Communities as far inland as Northern Louisiana, and the States of Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio must remain alert for their increased flood risk during the next five days.
  • The National Weather Service is the official source for weather information. FEMA urges coastal and inland residents in all the states at risk from Isaac’s effects to monitor their NOAA Weather Radios and local news for severe weather updates and warnings.
  • Remain alert and always follow the instructions of state, local, and Tribal officials, especially urgent evacuations orders and flash flood warnings. 

 Federal Disaster Declarations

  • On Monday, President Obama signed an emergency declaration for 13 parishes resulting from Tropical Storm Isaac for the State of Louisiana. The emergency declaration covers an open incident period beginning August 26, 2012, to save lives, protect property, and protect public health and safety within designated coastal parishes.
  • Yesterday, the declaration was amended to provide an additional 19 parishes with direct federal assistance under the Public Assistance program for Category B (emergency protective measures).
  • Also yesterday, President Obama approved an emergency declaration for 29 counties resulting from Hurricane Isaac for the State of Mississippi. The emergency declaration provides direct federal assistance in the form of emergency protective measures for an open incident period beginning August 26, 2012, to save lives, protect property, and protect public health and safety.
  • The declaration was later amended to provide an additional five counties with direct federal assistance under the Public Assistance program for Category B (emergency protective measures).
  • For the latest federal disaster declaration information, and as well as additional information about the Hurricane Isaac response, see the FEMA website at http://www.fema.gov/.

Current Coordination Efforts

  • At the direction of President Obama, FEMA is coordinating the federal government's support and preparations in states potentially affected by Hurricane Isaac. The President has been briefed daily since this weekend by FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate and National Hurricane Center Director Dr. Rick Knabb. The briefings focused on the anticipated weather conditions and the coordinated efforts in preparation for the storm response.
  • Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, FEMA Administrator Fugate, and other federal officials have been in regular contact with the governors of the effected Gulf Coast states as well as tribal and local leaders in advance of the storm, and as conditions worsen, to ensure these communities have no unmet needs.  
  • FEMA staff and commodities were pre-deployed across the Gulf Coast states and are poised and ready to mobilize where needed and requested as storm conditions permit.
  • FEMA officials continue to work in close coordination with the Florida Division of Emergency Management, the Alabama Emergency Management Agency, the Georgia Emergency Management Agency, the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency, the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management, and the Louisiana Governor’s Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Preparedness. 
  • Incident Management Assistance Teams are in state emergency operations centers in Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, and Florida. Mobile Emergency Response Teams are deployed to Florida and Alabama to support state emergency communications requirements including voice, video, and information services. Texas Task Force 1, and urban search and rescue team, is deployed to Louisiana and is available as needed and requested.
  • FEMA maintains strategically-located commodities at all times, including millions of liters of water, and a similar amount of meals and blankets, at distribution centers throughout the United States and its territories to support potential state requests for assistance. FEMA has distribution centers in Atlanta, Ga. and Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas.
  • In coordination with U.S. Northern Command, FEMA prepositioned supplies closer to potentially-affected areas, including Camp Beauregard, a National Guard Base in Pineville, Louisiana, and Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Alabama. These nearby assets will allow the federal government to quickly move supplies throughout the affected states should they be needed and requested.
  • FEMA’s National Response Coordination Center in Washington, D.C., remains activated to 24/7 operations and its Region IV Regional Response Coordination Center in Atlanta, Ga., and Region VI Regional Coordination Center in Denton, Texas, are also activated to support state requests for assistance.

Preparedness Actions for those in the Watch and Warning areas of Tropical Storm Isaac

  • FEMA urges residents in the southeastern states to monitor your NOAA Weather Radio and local news stations for updates and severe weather warnings. Communities should remain alert and take all required actions resulting from local evacuation orders, high wind warnings, and identified flood risks, including flash flood warnings.
  • State and local officials make the decisions to issue evacuation orders so residents should follow all instructions from local emergency management officials.
    • If your area is ordered to evacuate, be sure to know your evacuation route in advance and have a plan for where you will stay.
  • Prepare your family, home, or business now to lessen the impact of severe weather. Review your ‘go kit’ to make sure you have your home and personal insurance information as well as the latest prescriptions or medical supplies you or your family members may need. Identify a location to meet up with family and friends should you become separated or need to move to a local emergency shelter.
    • Now is a good time to fill up your vehicles with gas and get cash from the ATM in case these resources become unavailable after the storm due to power loss. If you have pets, check with local officials as to which shelters accept animals and prepare supplies to bring as needed.
  • Please visit Ready.gov (Listo.gov para español) to learn more about the simple steps you can take to be prepared.
  • Coastal and inland residents in areas that may be affected by the storm should familiarize themselves with tornado hazard terminology.
    • A Tornado Watch means tornadoes are possible. Stay alert for storms, watch the sky and stay tuned to NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio or television for information.
    • A Tornado Warning means a tornado has been sighted or indicated by weather radar. Take shelter immediately.
    • If a tornado is possible in your area, go to a pre-designated shelter area such as a safe room, basement, storm cellar, or the lowest building level. If there is no basement, go to the center of an interior room on the lowest level (closet, interior hallway) away from corners, windows, doors, and outside walls. Do not open windows.
  • Remember flooding, and especially flash flooding, are a major risk during tropical weather and small mistakes can lead to deadly results.
    • Never drive your car through standing water or around emergency barricades, and do not try to walk through more than two inches of running water.
  • Power outages and flooding that can result from weather emergencies can compromise the safety of stored food, plan ahead to minimize the risk of food-borne illness.
    • A closed refrigerator will keep food safely for about four hours and a closed, full freezer can keep food safe about 48 hours.
  • Remember for meat, poultry, fish and eggs, “when in doubt, throw it out.” Have a cooler on hand to keep refrigerator food cold in case of power outage, and grouping food together in the freezer; this helps the food stay cold longer.
    • Additional food safety preparedness tips can be found at USDA Food Safety Inspection Service’s website www.fsis.usda.gov

Additional Resources:

National Council on Disability • 1331 F Street, NW, Suite 850 • Washington, DC 20004