This week is Chatham County’s Hurricane Prepare-A-thon Week. Each day will feature a different task to prepare yourself for hurricane season.
Text Messages Alerts: CEMA regularly sends text message alerts about local emergencies including impending storms, potential flooding, heat warning and road closures. To get important updates via text message text ‘FOLLOW CHATHAMEMA’ to 40404. You will be automatically added to the SMS notification list, powered by Twitter.
Community Notification System: CEMA encourages everyone who lives, works and visits Savannah and Chatham County to sign up to receive emergency and community notifications on their cells phones through the Community Notification System (CNS). This free service is designed to make phone calls to specific areas in the event of an evacuation. By registering your cell phone to your home and/or work address, you will receive notifications when an evacuation order is called for your area. All listed landline phone numbers have already been programmed into the system. Register online by visiting HERE or call the PrepareAthon Telethon on Friday, August 4th at 912-644-8899.
Emergency Weather Phone App: There are several emergency weather applications that you can download onto your smartphone to alert you when severe weather is approaching our area. Some phone apps include WTOC First Alert Radar, WSAV Storm Team 3, The American Red Cross Emergency App, NOAA Weather Radar and many more. Each of these apps will assist you in staying informed during an emergency.
Shelter-in-Place Kit: When riding out a storm in your home, you will need to ensure that you have the supplies you need to remain comfortable. Power outages are a strong possibility during tropical storms and tornadoes, so keeping a small kit with essential supplies is a great way to be prepared. Your Shelter-in-Place kit should have enough non-perishable food items and water for 3-5 days, comfort objects, medical supplies, medication and other items that you use regularly. We suggest that you keep this kit in the bottom level of your home in an interior room with no windows as you can easily utilize this kit during many severe weather emergencies including tornadoes, hurricanes and thunderstorms.
Evacuation Kit: An Evacuation Kit will have similar items to a Shelter-in-Place kit, but should include a larger quantity. For example, an Evacuation Kit should have enough non-perishable food and water for at least 5-7 days. In addition, you will want to include a change of clothes for everyone in the family as well as essential toiletry items and all required medications. Consider adding several comfort objects and toys for children and animals as the change in their routine may be difficult to understand. Lastly, ensure that you have copies of all important documents including, but not limited to, birth certificates, social security cards, medical documents, and monthly expense information.
Pet Supplies Kit: A pet’s kit should include enough food and water for at least 5 days, all pet medications (or prescriptions for an evacuation kit), a carrier for each pet with blankets, a copy of your pets most recent vet records and a current photo of your pet in case you all get separated. For more information on what to include in a kit and a list of hotels in Georgia that accept pets, visit The Humane Society of Savannah webpage.
Listed below are some tips to ensure you are properly covered:
Inventory Your Home:Regardless of the type of coverage you buy, maintaining a detailed inventory of your property’s contents will assist you if a disaster strikes. Your inventory will help you prove the value of what you owned, which could speed your claim processing, and will provide documentation for tax deductions you can claim for your losses. You can take photos or videos to help you record your belongings, but be sure to also write down descriptions, including year, make, and model numbers, where appropriate. Be sure to store your inventory somewhere it can be easily accessed after a disaster and put a copy of it in your evacuation kit.
Understand Your Policy:Most homeowner and renter insurance policies do not cover damage from floods. Talk with your insurance professional if you are at risk for flooding or mudflows, including flooding caused by hurricanes. As we saw during Matthew, many insurance companies have a “Named Storm Clause”. Now is the time to determine if your insurance policy has this clause. Basic flood insurance, provided through FEMA, covers structural damage to your home or business building, including your air conditioner, furnace, and water heater. Flood insurance also covers associated cleanup costs. Home and business owners can purchase additional coverage for the building’s contents. For more information, visit gov or call 1-888-4FLOODS.
Know Your Settlement Options: Familiarize yourself with the settlement types available for your dwelling and personal property and choose the one that best meets your needs. The cost of your policy and the claim amount you receive will vary depending on the type of settlement you choose.
- Visit gov/prepareto learn more about specific risks and what protective measures to take before, during, and after a disaster.
- For additional information about preparing your home to better withstand disasters, as well as recovering, repairing, and rebuilding following disasters, visit the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety at org.
- For information on insurance regulations in your state, contact your state insurance commission. A map linked to each state’s insurance commission website is available at org.
- If you are interested in purchasing flood insurance, or you have questions about what is covered with a flood insurance policy, visit gov.
Getting out of town: When an evacuation order is issued for Chatham County, residents and visitors are responsible for making personal transportation arrangements. These arrangements should include driving and/or making plans to ride with family members or friends. Begin communicating with these individuals now and have a back-up plan in case friends or family are out of town during an evacuation.
Ride with Chatham County: When a mandatory evacuation order is issued, Chatham Area Transit will provide free rides to the Civic Center which will serve as the Evacuation Assembly Area (EAA). The EAA will be activated 36 to 42 hours before the arrival of tropical storm force winds. From there, residents will be evacuated to an inland shelter. Keep in mind that this is a last resort and should only be utilized if no other options are available to you. Pets will be permitted, but must be in a carrier, have medical documentation, and will ride on a separate bus to a separate shelter. Pets, unless identified as a service animal, will not be permitted to ride or shelter with the general population.
Communicate your plans with friends and family: Once your evacuation plans are finalized, communicate your plans with friends and family both inside and outside of Chatham County. These friends and family members will know when and how to contact you or emergency officials if they do not hear from you after an emergency.
For those with Functional, Access or Medical Needs: The Functional, Access, and Medical Needs Registry consists of residents who may require transport and medical assistance during a hurricane evacuation. These individuals may not have resources such as family, friends, neighbors, or church members to help them if they need to evacuate. To find out if you qualify, contact the Chatham County Public Health Department and apply for the free Functional and Medical Needs Registry. For more information, call (912) 691-7443 or click here.
What to bring with you: If you are evacuating to a shelter through the Evacuation Assembly Area, each person is only permitted two hand-carry bags. Make sure you bring any medications or medical equipment that you utilize regularly. However, each of these items should already be included in your Evacuation Kit. For more information on what to bring with you, visit ChathamEmergnecy.org.
Plan for your pets too: Include your pets in your evacuation planning. The Humane Society of Greater Savannah has created a list of hotels in the state of Georgia that accepts pets. For this list and more information about preparing your pets for a disaster visit HumaneSocietysav.org.
After the storm: We know residents will be eager to come home and assess their property, but depending on the intensity of the hurricane, it could be weeks before it is safe to do so. Chatham County will implement a phased re-entry system which will grant first access to first responders and render safe teams. When the all clear is given, residents will be allowed to return with limited access. To keep up with recovery efforts and to find out when it is safe to return home, residents can call the WTOC/CEMA Hurricane Hotline at 912-644-8811.