As Hurricane Sandy continues to bear down on the East Coast, federal teams are working with state and local officials to prepare for days of severe weather in communities stretching from North Carolina to Maine. Forecasts from the National Hurricane Center suggest that a huge area of the United States could be affected by high winds, heavy rains, storm surge, and snow – all of which could produce widespread power outages.
Today, President Obama traveled to the Federal Emergency Management Agency to get briefed on those preparations. He met with FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate, FEMA Deputy Administrator Richard Serino, and the FEMA regional directors. Dr. Rick Knabb, the director for the National Hurricane Center, joined the meeting by video conference.
“At this stage, everybody is confident that the staging process, the prepositioning of resources, commodities, equipment that are going to be needed to respond to this storm are in place,” the President said. “But as Craig [Fugate] has emphasized, this hasn't hit landfall yet, so we don't yet know where it's going to hit, where we're going to see the biggest impacts. And that's exactly why it's so important for us to respond big and respond fast as local information starts coming in.”
If you live in a community in the path of Hurricane Sandy, there’s still time to prepare for the storm. FEMA makes these suggestions on its blog:
- Get some extra cash out at the ATM today. If the power goes out, banks/ATMs may be offline for some time.
- Make a plan for how you’ll keep your cell phone charged if you lose power for several days. Picking up a solar or hand-crank charger for your phone is a good idea.
- Take steps to protect your home/business from high winds – cover windows, clean gutters, trim trees.
- Get to the store today for emergency supplies such as water, nonperishable food, batteries, flashlight, etc.
- Make sure you have what you need in case the power goes out and cold weather moves in. Double check that you have a safe, warm place you can go, blankets in your home/car, and winter items like snow shovels and rock salt.
- Employers: make sure your employees are prepared and review your continuity and tele-work plans.