09.07.17

Senators Isakson, Perdue: Take Hurricane Irma Threat Seriously

Urge Georgians to follow evacuation recommendations, prepare for potential threat

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Johnny Isakson (R-GA) and David Perdue (R-GA) today urged Georgians to take seriously the threat posed by Hurricane Irma. Governor Nathan Deal expanded the state of emergency on Thursday to 30 Georgia counties that could potentially be impacted by the storm: Appling, Atkinson, Bacon, Brantley, Bryan, Bulloch, Burke, Camden, Candler, Charlton, Chatham, Clinch, Coffee, Echols, Effingham, Emanuel, Evans, Glynn, Jenkins, Jeff Davis, Liberty, Long, McIntosh, Pierce, Screven, Tattnall, Toombs, Treutlen, Wayne and Ware Counties.

As officials continue to monitor Hurricane Irma’s path in the days ahead, Senators Isakson and Perdue further caution Georgians to follow state and local officials’ safety guidance in advance of the storm. The storm is expected to begin affecting Georgia later this week.

“We have learned time and again that preparedness saves lives,” said Senator Isakson. “Hurricanes provide warnings that they are coming, and I urge Georgians to take advantage of this window of time to prepare their homes and properties, and more importantly, to heed evacuation advice. We will pray for all those staying to aid in emergency work, and we are working closely with Governor Deal, the Georgia Emergency Management Agency and the Federal Emergency Management Agency as the storm moves closer to the Georgia coast. As always, Senator Perdue and I will work together in the Senate and do all we can to support all levels of storm response.”

“Hurricane Irma is a life-threatening storm that has the potential to impact many Georgians as it makes landfall in the United States,” said Senator Perdue. “For everyone’s safety, including the safety of our first responders, everyone must take this storm seriously. Governor Deal, the Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and the American Red Cross are working hard to prepare for Hurricane Irma and will continue to update Georgians as the situation develops. As we saw with the devastation in Houston, we must take potential threats seriously and prepare accordingly. My team stands ready to help, but the most important thing right now is to heed these warnings.”

Senators Isakson and Perdue also reminded Georgians that they can find information on preparedness efforts and storm updates from Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency by visiting www.gema.ga.gov. Individuals can also visit http://ready.ga.gov/ or www.listo.gov to learn evacuation routes and preparedness tips for tropical storms and hurricanes.

In accordance with the Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security’s hurricane preparedness advice, Isakson and Perdue urged Georgians to follow these safety precautions if a hurricane is likely in your area:

  • Listen to the radio or TV or download the Ready Georgia app.
  • Secure your home, close storm shutters and secure outdoor objects or bring them indoors.
  • Turn off utilities if instructed to do so. Otherwise, turn the refrigerator thermostat to its coldest setting and keep its doors closed.
  • Learn how to keep food safe in an emergency.
  • Turn off propane tanks.
  • Avoid using the phone, except for serious emergencies.
  • Moor your boat if time permits.
  • Have a supply of water for sanitary purposes such as cleaning and flushing toilets. Fill the bathtub and other larger containers with water.

As of Wednesday afternoon, Governor Deal has issued a state of emergency for six coastal Georgia counties: Bryan, Chatham, Liberty, McIntosh, Glynn and Camden counties. Should Georgians be directed by local authorities to evacuate, they should be sure to follow local authority’s instructions to do so.

In addition, Georgians outside of these counties but within the storm’s wake should evacuate under the following conditions:

  • If you live in a mobile home or temporary structure – such shelters are particularly hazardous during a hurricane no matter how well fastened to the ground.
  • If you live in a high-rise building – hurricane winds are stronger at higher elevations.
  • If you live on the coast, on a floodplain, near a river, or on an island waterway.

If you are unable to evacuate, go to a safe room. If you do not have one, follow these guidelines:

  • Stay indoors during the hurricane and away from windows and glass doors.
  • Close all interior doors – secure and brace external doors.
  • Take refuge in a small interior room, closet or hallway on the lowest level. If flooding occurs, be prepared to take shelter on a floor above the flooding.
  • Avoid elevators.

Senators Isakson and Perdue urged evacuees to bring water, non-perishable snacks and emergency supplies for their journeys, be aware of fellow travelers and make careful assessments before returning home.

Before evacuating, Georgians should:

  • Move electronics, valuables and important documents to a safe place.
  • Roll up area rugs where possible and store them on higher floors or elevations.
  • Shut off electrical service at the main breaker if the electrical system and outlets may be under water.
  • If expenses are incurred due to protecting homes in preparation for coming storms and flooding – such as purchasing sandbags – it may be possible to file a claim against individual National Flood Insurance Program flood policies for reimbursement. Georgians should call their insurance agent to discuss your coverage and learn more.

The American Red Cross has available a list of locations where evacuees can seek safe shelter, hot meals and essential relief supplies on their website here: http://www.redcross.org/get-help/disaster-relief-and-recovery/find-an-open-shelter.

After the hurricane, local authorities may not be able to immediately provide information about what is happening and what you should do. Residents should listen to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Weather Radio, watch local TV or check the internet often for official news and instructions as they become available.

In addition, the following guidelines are recommended for staying safe after Hurricane Irma:

  • Stay out of flood waters, if possible. The water may be contaminated or electrically charged. However, should you find yourself trapped in your vehicle in rising water get out immediately and seek higher ground.
  • Be alert for tornadoes and flooding. If you see a funnel cloud or if local authorities issue a tornado warning take shelter underground or in an interior room away from windows. If waters are rising quickly or local authorities issue a flood or flash flood warning, seek higher ground.
  • Stay away from downed power lines to avoid the risk of electric shock or electrocution.
  • Do not return to your home until local authorities say it is safe. Even after the hurricane and once flood waters recede, roads may be weakened and could collapse. Buildings may be unstable, and drinking water may be contaminated. Use common sense and exercise caution.

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Senator Perdue is the only Fortune 500 CEO in Congress and is serving his first term in the United States Senate, where he represents Georgia on the Armed Services, Banking, Budget, and Agriculture Committees.