EVACUATION ASSEMBLY AREA
For more than a decade, approaching hurricanes like Katrina, Gustav, Ike, and Floyd have required hundreds of thousands of people to evacuate the Gulf and Southeast Coasts of the United States.
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 arrangements to ride with family members or friends.
If you can't find a ride. For those without transportation, Chatham County will provide transportation assistance using available public resources. When an evacuation order is issued, the Chatham Emergency Management Agency (CEMA) coordinates the opening of the County's Evacuation Assembly Area (EAA) at the Savannah Civic Center 36 to 42 hours before the arrival of tropical storm force winds. Those in need of transportation can walk to or be dropped off at the EAA as well as ride a county bus. Chatham Area Transit (CAT) will provide free rides to the EAA from any established CAT bus stops.
For those with Functional or Medical Needs. Most CAT buses and the Civic Center facilities are equipped to support those with limited functional needs. People who think they may qualify for additional support, should contact the Chatham County Public Health Department and apply for the Functional and Medical Needs Registry. The Registry assists the County in making additional transportation arrangements for qualifying citizens. For more information about registration, call (912) 356-2441.
What to bring with you. Each person is allowed to bring only what they can carry which is no more than two hand-carry bags. Make sure you bring any medications you are taking. There is no baggage assistance available at the Civic Center, and space on evacuation buses is limited. Mark your bags so it is easy to identify.
About pets. If you must evacuate, you should NOT leave your pets behind. If you're using public transportation, there will be arrangements made with the inland destinations to shelter animals; however, available space is extremely limited. With that in mind, do your best to make other arrangements for your pets and assemble a portable pet disaster supply kit. Keep the supplies in an accessible place and store them in a sturdy container that can be easily carried.
Your pet disaster supply kit should include:
• Medications, immunization records* and a first aid kit
• Carriers or cages to transport pets safely*
• Sturdy leashes*, muzzles, and/or harnesses
• Blankets or towels for bedding and warmth
• Current photos of your pets in case they get separated from you
• Food and drinking water
• Easily transportable pet toys and comfort items.
Prepare yourself, it won't be a vacation. The availability of public transportation is not meant to be a convenient alternative for you and your family during an evacuation. Using public transportation is the means of last resort, your last choice. Prepare yourself and remember:
• You can take ONLY what you can carry
• Lines may be long and buses may not be immediately available (there will be a wait)
• It's going to be HOT
• Transportation services may not be air conditioned
• It will be a long and slow ride
• You are not going to a hotel
• Inland destinations will most likely be Public Shelters established in available school facilities
• Personal space in the shelters may be limited to a cot and its immediate area
• After the event is over and safety issues have been mitigated, you will be provided return transportation only when local officials allow it and resources are available.
Even a small storm may result in widespread power outages lasting up to a week or more. A more serious storm may cause flooding, structural damage, power outages and loss of cell phone communications for some time. Shortages of food and drinkable water can also be expected. There are no public hurricane shelters in Chatham County. When evacuation is the best and the only recommended option, the County EAA will be ready.