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FEMA and Partners Continue Response to Tropical Storm Florence

Release date: 
September 15, 2018
Release Number: 
HQ-18-128

WASHINGTON – Tropical Storm Florence continues hammering the Carolinas with heavy rains, high winds and flash flooding today. Dangerous flooding is occurring across the impacted area, and residents and visitors should remain indoors until told by local officials that it is safe to go outside.

Residents in Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia should:

  • Stay put. Stay indoors until you are told it is safe to go outside by local officials.
  • Keep out of the water. Flood water can contain dangerous debris, downed power lines, and germs. Do not attempt to walk, swim, wade, or drive through flood waters.
  • Let first responders do their job. Stay off the roads, beaches, and waterways. Use VHF Channel 16, or call 911 for emergency needs.  Do not rely on social media if you are in danger.
  • Send a text to check-in. Text instead of calling to let loved ones know that you are safe; keep phone lines open for first responders.

President Donald J. Trump declared a Major Disaster Friday for North Carolina as a result of Florence, making federal funding available to affected individuals in Beaufort, Brunswick, Carteret, Craven, New Hanover, Onslow, Pamlico and Pender counties.

Individuals and business owners who sustained losses in the designated area can visit disasterassistance.gov to check eligibility for federal, state, local, and voluntary organizations in their community that best meet their specific needs.  

Survivors without internet access can check their eligibility for disaster assistance by calling 1-800-621-3362 (Multilingual operators are available; press 2 for Spanish).  Disaster assistance applicants who have a speech disability or hearing loss and use TTY, should call 1-800-462-7585 directly; for those who use 711 or Video Relay Service (VRS), call 1-800-621-3362. The toll-free telephone numbers will operate from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. EDT, daily.

 

"Our job is to pre-deploy our assets and teams to help the heroes at the state and local level do their jobs and backfill their capabilities."   -- FEMA Administrator Brock Long

 

Federal Activities as of 5 a.m. Eastern

FEMA

  • Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Incident Management Assistance Teams are at state emergency operations centers in the Carolinas, Virginia and Washington D.C. to support readiness and response activities and ensure there are no unmet needs.
  • Over 1,150 FEMA Urban Search and Rescue System personnel, in addition to U.S. Coast Guard search and rescue components, are positioned in the Carolinas, Maryland, and Virginia to support search and rescue efforts
  • FEMA has Mobile Emergency Response Support (MERS) units in North Carolina and South Carolina with secure and non-secure voice, video and information services to support states’ emergency response communications needs.
  • Additional mobile communications resources are pre-positioned in Alabama,Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia to support potentially affected areas as needed and requested.
  • The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) is working closely with Insurance Commissioners in Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia to monitor the situation, and support any additional unmet needs.
  • The NFIP held preparation calls with all NFIP Write Your Own private-sector partners to ensure they help deliver customer-centric claims service on the NFIP’s behalf.  Partners reported they have nearly 3,000 flood-certified adjusters ready to respond to Hurricane Florence.

FEMA Logistics and Commodities Movements

  • The private sector is the first source for goods in the potentially affected areas. When their supply chain is disrupted, or stores are unable to open, then state, local and voluntary agencies will provide needed supplies.  FEMA, working in coordination with the state, will augment state and local resources as needed and requested.
  • At all times, FEMA maintains commodities, including millions of liters of water, millions of meals and hundreds of thousands of blankets,
  • FEMA is forward-staging meals, water, cots, blankets and other resources at Incident Support Bases, distribution centers, and pre-positioning sites in the Carolinas, Georgia, Virginia and West Virginia, to support the needs of the state as they exhaust their supplies, until stores can reopen.  The quantity of supplies on hand will fluctuate as supplies are continuously moving. 

U.S. Department of Agriculture

  • Representatives from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) are deployed to FEMA’s National Response Coordination Center, and Regional Response Coordination Centers in Philadelphia and Atlanta, in addition to state Emergency Operations Centers in North Carolina and South Carolina. 
  • USFS also has personnel positioned in Raleigh, N.C., and Anniston, Ala. should their assistance with incident management and coordination become necessary.  USFS often supports states with emergency road clearing, incident management or other support following hurricanes or other disasters.
  • USDA’s Office of the Inspector General has 42 personnel in North Carolina to assist with public safety and security efforts.

American Red Cross

  • The American Red Cross is responding across six states as Hurricane Florence pounds coastal and inland communities with catastrophic flooding and life-threatening tidal surges.
  • More than 17,000 people sought refuge in over 240 Red Cross and community shelters Friday night to escape the storm’s wrath.
  • More than 2,000 disaster workers are on the ground to help and additional volunteers are being mobilized in case they are needed.
  • Working with partners, the Red Cross has served 47,000 meals and snacks in North Carolina and South Carolina.

Corporation for National and Community Service

  • The Corporation for National and Community Service has activated nearly 500 members of the AmeriCorps Disaster Response Team.
  • 20 teams will mobilize to FEMA sites to support distribution centers, incident staging bases, calling centers, disaster survivor assistance, and incident management assistance. Another nine AmeriCorps teams will deploy to support shelter operations in North and South Carolina.
  • More than 150 AmeriCorps members remain pre-staged at the agency’s Vicksburg, Miss., campus for swift deployment.  All remaining available AmeriCorps Disaster Response Teams (A-DRTs) are on standby, with 140 activated for potential deployment.
  • A-DRTs are expertly trained crews that can provide support for shelter operations, call centers, volunteer and donation management, muck and gut operations, blue-roof tarping, debris cleanup, and other services. Of those activated for response, 260 are AmeriCorps members serving with FEMA Corps, an innovative partnership to enhance the nation’s disaster response and recovery capacity, while expanding career opportunities for young people.

U.S. Department of Defense

  • U.S. Northern Command (USNORTHCOM) is leaning forward and actively posturing U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) forces for response operations for Hurricane Florence. 
  • In response to potential flooding, DoD is preparing ground transportation/high-water capable vehicles to move personnel and cargo in the affected areas, is preparing to provide rotary wing aircraft, swift water boats and rescue personnel in support of flooding in the affected areas.  

National Guard Bureau

  • The National Guard has approximately 6,500 force members activated for the response. Over 10 states are mobilizing critical support from their National Guard forces through the Emergency Management Assistance Compact to the anticipated impacted areas.  Approximately 40 rotary wing aircraft are available for search and rescue, and the National Guard will provide general support missions with the local first responders.
  • The North Carolina National Guard has over 2,800 personnel on State Active Duty with an additional 1,000 standing by. Capabilities to support North Carolina in the aftermath of a hurricane include stranded motorist and flood victim rescue using high-water clearance vehicles, swift water rescue support, warehouse and supply transport, power generation support, shelter support, food and water distribution, communications support, road closure support, site security, helicopter aquatic rescue teams, helicopter transport and damage assessment over-flights.
  • The South Carolina National Guard has over 3,200 Soldiers and Airmen on duty, including support from the Pennsylvania National Guard who brought additional Army Aviation assets with 2 CH-47 Chinook helicopters and 2 UH-60 Black Hawks and 20 personnel with rescue swimmers.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) teams are on the ground in the Carolinas and Virginia to assist states and tribes with temporary emergency power, debris removal, infrastructure assessments, water and wastewater assessment and temporary roofing.

U.S. Department of Energy

  • Significant power outages are being reported from Hurricane Florence, and the Department of Energy (DOE) is continuing to work with its partners to respond to the impact of Hurricane Florence. DOE responders are working with their counterparts in the field, and more than 40,000 workers from at least 19 states have been mobilized to support restoration efforts.
  • Crews will begin working as soon as it is safe to do so, though power restoration may take several days or even more in some areas.
  • DOE has also begun to issue Event Summaries on the impacts of Florence to the energy infrastructure, which can be found here.

Nuclear Regulatory Commission

  • The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) oversees eight nuclear power plants, including 13 reactors, in or near the projected path of Hurricane Florence. (Three sites in North Carolina, three sites in South Carolina, and two in Virginia.)
  • Plant procedures require operators to shut down the reactor before hurricane-force winds arrive on site. The Brunswick nuclear power plant and the Global Nuclear Fuels plant, both near Wilmington, N.C. shut down operations.

Federal Communications Commission

  • The Federal Communications Commission continues monitoring the status of communications networks and is prepared to provide emergency assistance to communications providers. Visit their for information about Hurricane Florence, including outage reports and tips for communicating during an emergency. 

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

  • U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) medical personnel began providing care for residents who evacuated to general population shelters in southern Virginia.
  • HHS now has more than 500 medical personnel pre-positioned from the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, National Disaster Medical System, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and other HHS divisions, along with caches of medical equipment. Federal Medical Stations also are on standby. These assets are available quickly anywhere they are needed to help state and local authorities respond to communities’ medical needs. Approximately 300 ambulances and their emergency medical crews are on standby to assist.

U.S. Department of Homeland Security National Protection and Programs Directorate

  • DHS’ National Protection and Programs Directorate (NPPD) is coordinating with the Federal Aviation Administration on drone policy and guidance to ensure adequate flight restrictions are in place.
  • NPPD has been participating in the Electricity Subsector Coordinating Council (ESCC) daily coordination call with CEOs from companies in the forecasted path of Hurricane Florence, and with senior leadership from DOE. Industry and government executives discuss the steps that are being taken to prepare for the expected power restoration mission.
  • NPPD is also linked in with the Oil and Natural Gas Subsector Coordinating Council to support unmet needs. 
  • The Shared Resources (SHARES) High Frequency Radio program, administered by NPPD’s National Coordinating Center for Communications, is providing an additional means for users with a national security and emergency preparedness mission to communicate when landline and cellular communications are unavailable.
  • NPPD’s Office of Emergency Communications (EOC) has activated the Telecommunications Service Priority (TSP) Program and Government Emergency Telecommunications Service/Wireless Priority Service program. The TSP is for authorized national security and emergency preparedness organizations to receive priority treatment for vital voice and data circuits or other telecommunications services.
  • NPPD’s Federal Protective Service (FPS) continues to monitor all facilities within its mission area, and is taking appropriate precautions to ensure the continued security of the closed facilities. Currently there are 69 Federal facilities under GSA’s purview throughout coastal North and South Carolina, the Georgia coast, and Southeastern Virginia that are closed as a result of Hurricane Florence. 

Customs and Border Protection

  • U.S. Customs and Border Protection and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), in consideration of disaster response activities, will not be conducting immigration enforcement initiatives associated with evacuations or sheltering related to Florence, except in the event of a serious public safety threat.

Internal Revenue Service

  • There are checks held for special delivery. IRS has a total of 2,111 checks totaling over $3 million.

U.S. Department of Justice

  • The U.S. Department of Justice is in touch with its prison facilities and law enforcement offices in the impacted region.  Law enforcement components stand ready to answer calls for assistance from state and local entities.
  • There are over 100 law enforcement personnel deployed to hurricane-impacted areas to assist in rescue and response operations. 

National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration

  • National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration Navigation Response Teams are ready to assist in re-opening ports as soon as possible.
  • NOAA's National Geodetic Survey has aircraft on standby to support FEMA overflights of affected shorelines, and the Office of Response and Recovery is on standby to assist the Coast Guard with any possible chemical and/or oil spill.
  • The SARSAT system is actively providing distress and specific location information to the Coast Guard, and NOAA is working with local emergency managers and industry to help amplify its forecasts including working through over 8200 Weather Ready Nation Ambassadors.

Salvation Army

  • The Salvation Army has staged incident command teams and more than 60 mobile feeding units are staged through North Carolina and South Carolina, and canteens are on stand-by in Virginia and Georgia to provide relief to survivors and first responders as soon as storm conditions allow. The main staging area is at the Charlotte Motor Speedway, where more than 20 canteens and one field kitchen (en route) are staged to deploy to impacted areas when weather permits.

Social Security Administration

  • In the Atlanta region, the Social Security Administration closed approximately 35 field or hearing offices in the affected areas. In addition, four disability determination services (DDS) offices are closed.  Also, the Norfolk DDS is closed. In the Philadelphia region, all agency offices remain open.

U.S. Department of Transportation

  • The U.S. Department of Transportation established a Routing Assistance Hotline to support the movement of federal, state, and local response personnel, equipment, and goods during Hurricane Florence response efforts. 
  • Waivers have been extended for federal motor carriers in the impacted, and potentially impacted areas, to include Kentucky.

Federal Aviation Administration

  • The Federal Aviation Administration is warning drone owners and operators they may face significant fines if they interfere with emergency response operations in the areas affected by Hurricane Florence.
  • If drone operators need to fly in controlled airspace or a disaster Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) to support the response and recovery, operators must contact the FAA’s System Operations Support Center (SOSC) by emailing the information they need to authorize access to the airspace. Coordination with the SOSC may also include a requirement that a drone operator obtain support from the appropriate incident commander.

USA.gov / GobiernoUSA.gov

Department of Veterans Affairs

  • One Department of Veterans Affairs hospital in the path of the storms is closed.
  • The Outpatient Pharmacy is closed in Charleston, South Carolina.
  • Mobile units are staged outside the impacted area and ready to deploy, including mobile pharmacy units and patient transportation.

 

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Last Updated: 
September 15, 2018 - 13:00