One Year after Katrina, FEMA Prepares For Tropical Storm Ernesto

One year after Katrina made landfall in Mississippi, the Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) says it is ready and supporting state officials as they prepare for Tropical Storm Ernesto, the fifth named storm of the 2006 hurricane season.

FEMA continues to closely monitor the storm with the Hurricane Liaison Team at the National Hurricane Center and is coordinating with state and local officials as they make decisions for their communities on evacuations and response activities. FEMA preparations include:

  • Engaging with governors and state emergency managers in the anticipated impact states to begin federal and state coordination.
  • Working with partners at the National Hurricane Center to anticipate the storm's landfall.
  • Mobilizing trucks with food, water and ice for the potentially affected areas.
  • Activating FEMA's National Response Coordination Center in Washington, D.C., and the Regional Response Coordination Center in Atlanta to Level 1, with a 24/7 operational period.
  • Activating and deploying response teams to staging areas in Florida, Georgia and Alabama, including Federal Incident Response Support Teams (FIRST), Disaster Medical Assistance Teams and Urban Search and Rescue Teams.

In addition, disaster supplies have been pre-positioned throughout Southeastern states including:

  • 41 pre-positioned disaster supply units in place across Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina and South Carolina. The 250-person units contain 5-kw generators, folding cots, blankets, pillows, portable toilet with a privacy tent, personal hygiene kits, washcloths, first aid kits, CPR masks, halogen light sets with cord, fire extinguishers, Tyvek coveralls, Cyalume light sticks, 5-gallon gasoline cans, wheelchairs, home repair tool kits and hand trucks.
  • 344 truckloads of water staged in locations across the Southeast, including Homestead AFB, Orlando and Live Oak, Fla.; Robins AFB in Georgia; Purvis, Miss.; Fort Bragg, N.C., and McEntire Air National Guard Station in S.C. Each truck contains water to supply 5,000 people for 1 day.
  • 300 truckloads of ice staged in Jacksonville, Winter Haven and Bartow, Fla. Each truckload of ice can sustain 5,000 people per day.
  • 18 truckloads of MREs pre-staged at Homestead AFB in Fla. and in Purvis, MS. Each truckload can sustain 10,000 people per day.
  • 44 truckloads of tarps and plastic sheeting also staged at Homestead AFB as well as Brooksville and Orlando, Fla., and Purvis, Miss.

Residents are being asked to remember that individual and community preparedness is essential to an effective response, and that these pre-staged supplies do not supplant the need for individuals and families that could be affected by Tropical Storm Ernesto to have emergency supplies on hand. Individuals, families, and businesses should:

  • Prepare emergency supply kits with food, water, battery-operated radios and medicines to last up to a minimum of 72 hours. Pet owners also should ensure they have supplies and a plan for their pets.
  • Make emergency plans that include how and where they would evacuate, shelter-in-place and communicate with one another.
  • Listen to local authorities for direction and evacuation orders.
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