WASHINGTON , DC -- The Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency continues to closely monitor the progress of Hurricane Rita and is making continuous preparations for the storm. FEMA again reminds residents in the Gulf Coast states to pay close attention to Hurricane Rita and to listen to local officials and follow their instructions.
"Federal officials are working very closely with the states of Texas and Louisiana and have commodities, rescue personnel and other assets moving into place today said Acting FEMA Director R. David Paulison. "However, I cannot caution enough the need for individuals to prepare themselves and their families. First responders will not be able to reach impacted areas until the conditions are safe enough to respond."
- Update on FEMA and federal agency activities:
- 45 truckloads of water and 45 truckloads ice and 25 truckloads of meals are pre-staging at federal facilities in Texas .
- Over 400 medical team personnel and 14 Urban Search & Rescue Task Forces, almost 800 personnel, are pre-staging in Texas .
- More than 450 Members of Urban Search & Rescue Task Forces are still working in Louisiana .
- The U.S. Coast Guard is pre-positioning search and rescue, pollution response and aids to navigation assets inland for post-storm response.
- Coast Guard Disaster Area Response Teams (DART) will be staged in Houston to provide relief in the event of a disaster.
- The Department of Homeland Security's Infrastructure Protection division is working closely with private sector owners and operators to ensure protective measures are underway at local critical infrastructure sites.
- The American Red Cross has resources to deliver 750,000 meals a day a day after Hurricane Rita makes landfall, while keeping appropriate resources in place to assist Katrina evacuees.
Following is a list of actions that individuals should undertake and supplies to gather before Rita's anticipated landfall:
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.
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.)
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 available cooking pots.
- 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.
- Trim dead branches from trees.
- 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.
- Review your family disaster plan.
If You Are Told To Evacuate:
- If officials order evacuation, leave as soon as possible. Avoid flooded roads and watch for washed-out bridges.
- Prepare your family and ide...