ORLANDO, Fla. -- As Tropical Storm Katrina intensifies and heads for the eastern Florida coastline, the state of Florida has activated its Emergency Operations Center in Tallahassee to monitor the storm and begin to put response measures into place. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency supports state and local officials in their efforts, and stands ready to provide federal assistance should it be required.
"Residents need to prepare for Katrina's landfall immediately, the potential rainfall and high winds from Katrina present a significant danger," said Governor Jeb Bush. "Heed the instructions of your local emergency management officials to ensure your family is safe as the storm passes and in its aftermath."
"We urge all residents in the watch and warning areas to be prepared for Katrina's landfall," said Director Craig Fugate of the Florida Division of Emergency Management. "Any storm -- even a strong tropical storm or category one hurricane -- poses serious danger. Don't take this storm lightly. Now is the time to rush your plans to completion."
First and foremost, individuals are urged to pay attention to the latest storm information and follow all advisories issued by local emergency management officials.
"We encourage families to heed the advice of state and local officials and prepare for Katrina's arrival," said FEMA's Long Term Recovery Director Scott R. Morris. "Even as FEMA continues our work on recovery from the past five storms, we stand with our partners at the state and local levels encouraging Floridians to take the necessary precautionary measures for the looming storm."
Following is a list of actions to undertake and supplies to gather before Katrina's anticipated landfall sometime early Friday.
Before a Hurricane Strikes
- Plan a safe evacuation route and identify safe shelter space within your area. Those in storm surge zones, in flood zones, or in less than standard housing should be especially vigilant in preparing disaster plans. Contact your local American Red Cross chapter and ask for the community preparedness plan.
- Have disaster supplies on hand, including:
- Flashlight, portable battery-operated radio and extra batteries
- First-aid kit
- Emergency food and water (including a non-electric can opener)
- Essential medicines
- Cash and credit cards
- Sturdy shoes and a change of clothing
- Copies of important papers (bank statements, insurance records, deeds, etc.)
- Review the family disaster plan
- Protect your home (roof, windows, doors, etc.) and trim dead branches from trees.
When a Hurricane Watch or Warning Is Issued
- Listen to hurricane progress reports. Follow instructions if ordered to evacuate.
- Check your emergency supplies. Store drinking water in clean bathtubs, jugs, bottles and cooking utensils.
- Bring in outdoor objects such as lawn furniture, toys and garden tools; anchor objects that cannot be brought inside but that could be wind-tossed.
- Secure your home by installing hurricane shutters or precut plywood.
- Turn the refrigerator and freezer to the coldest settings if not instructed by officials to turn off utilities.
- Fuel your car. Review evacuation routes and gather your disaster supply kit.
- Store valuables and personal papers in a waterproof container.
If Evacuation Is Necessary
- If officials order evacuation, leave as soon as possible. Avoid flooded roads and watch for washed-out bridges.
- Secure your home. Unplug appliances and turn off electricity and the main water valve. If time permits, elevate furniture to protect it from flooding or move it to a higher floor.
- Take ...