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Hurricane PrepareAthon Day 4: Evacuation Planning Day!

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Day Four: Evacuation Planning Day!

thursday again.JPGAs we learned during Hurricane Matthew, when an evacuation order is issued, every second counts. Today, we are encouraging you to create your evacuation plan. Your plan should outline exactly where you will go and how you will get there if/when an evacuation order is called. Many Chatham County residents were frustrated during Matthew when they could not find hotel rooms or shelters that would accept their animals or that were in their price range. A small amount of pre-planning now can save you valuable time when you need it most!

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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. 
 
Don't have a car? Ride with us! 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 you finalize your evacuation plans, communicate your plan with friends and family both inside and outside of Chatham County. They may want to know what you will do and how they can help. These friends and family members will also 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. 
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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; they are members of your family too! Our friends at the Humane Society of Greater Savannah have created a list of hotels in the state of Georgia that accept pets! For this list and more information about preparing your furry friends for a disaster visit their website at 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.
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Re-Entry Planning. One last piece to consider in your evacuation planning is what to do when you return to Chatham County. If a large scale storm affected the County, your home and your neighborhood many be severely damaged. Make plans with friends and family now to assist one another if you cannot return home immediately. 
 
Here's what you can expect for the remainder of the week:
Friday, August 4 - Business Preparation Day and the PrepareAthon Telethon Day! The PrepareAthon Telethon is from 6AM to 8PM; people can call and register for the County's Community Notification System. CEMA staff and volunteers will be in CEMA's Emergency Operations Center to take calls from residents to help them register or update their information in our Community Notification System. The Telethon number is 912-644-8899.

Last Updated: August 3, 2017 9:21 AM

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