Irma … a sweet name but not when it comes to a category five hurricane.. This one looks like the nastiest to hit the Atlantic Ocean ever. Even if ‘her’ path is not confirmed yet and still might change, Florida, coastal Georgia and the Carolinas might feel the impact with more or less devastating consequences. Listen to your local authorities. Here is a list of the few important agencies:
- The Florida Division of Emergency Management Emergency: Information Line 1-800-342-3557 | http://www.floridadisaster.org | Facebook: FloridaSERT | tweets @FLSERT
- The Georgia Emergency Management & Homeland Security Agency: www.gema.ga.gov
- The South Carolina Emergency Management Division: www.scemd.org | Facebook: @SCEMD | National Guard on Facebook: @SCGuard | Hurricane Guide 2017
- The North Carolina Emergency Management, part of NC Public Safety: www.ncdps.gov | Facebook: @NCEmergency
- At the federal level, coordination is done by the Federal Emergency Management Agency: www.fema.gov | ready
- National Hurricane Center: www.hurricanes.gov | www.nhc.noaa.gov
- Many communities have text or email alerting systems for emergency notifications. To find out what alerts are available in your area, search the Internet with your town, city, or county name and the word “alerts.”
Both Florida and South Carolina are already in state of emergency! Some places have also received evacuation orders. Prepare your survival kits: purchase food and water, keep your gas tank full and phones charged at all time, have candles and/or flashlight & batteries, put your precious belongings and important documents in ziplock bags, get some cash, secure your yard equipment, make sure you have an adequate of your medication [if needed], become familiar with local evacuation zones, locate the nearest hurricane evacuation routes, make a personal property list of valuables, electronics and furniture, …
Think about where to go in case of evacuation and agree upon a meeting point for your family in case you would be separated. Make sure that all your kids know – by heart – your cell phone number and/or an emergency number. For the little ones, tuck in their pocket an ID card with relevant information, again, in case you would be separated. Same for the elderly and people with disabilities.
Don’t forget your pets … leave their collar day and night and make sure a pet tag is attached with his/her name and your contact information. Remember that a scared pet might escape in panic … Make sure that you have enough food for them as well.
And finally, if you haven’t done so yet, register your family with your Consulate General in Atlanta. For the Consulate General it is useful to know the situation and the whereabouts of the Belgians in its jurisdiction. Don’t hesitate keeping us informed via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Let’s hope that José (already close to hurricane strength) is not going to follow suite! Remain vigilant, be careful and stay safe!
Note: The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30, with the peak occurring between mid-August and late October. The Eastern Pacific hurricane season begins May 15 and ends November 30. | Interesting guide: Hurricane Guide perhaps for SC but plenty of useful information!