Storm Advice

FEMA AND FEDERAL PARTNERS CONTINUE TO SUPPORT RESPONSE AND RECOVERY EFFORTS IN THE GULF COAST

September 3, 2012

WASHINGTON - At the direction of President Barack Obama, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) continues to coordinate the federal government's efforts to support state, local, tribal, private sector, and faith-based and non-profit partners, as the Gulf Coast states respond and recover in the wake of Isaac.

Today, President Barack Obama is in Louisiana meeting with state and local officials and viewing ongoing response and recovery efforts to Hurricane Isaac.

Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano traveled to Mississippi and Louisiana on Sunday to visit areas damaged by the storm. Also, FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate has been in the impacted region since before the storm made landfall. In Louisiana and Mississippi, he has been traveling and meeting with disaster survivors, state and local officials and FEMA staff.

"When disasters occur, local and national voluntary agencies are often among some of the first responders on the ground to help survivors with the support and resources that they need," said FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate. "In Isaac, we've already seen field kitchens opening in the hardest hit neighborhoods with thousands of meals being served; dozens of shelters available for temporary housing relief; and teams on the ground to assist with debris removal and temporary roofs."

National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (National VOAD) members including voluntary, non-profit and faith-based organizations are working closely with the affected states and communities to assist with providing mobile feeding in areas where there are power outages, assisting with debris removal and, as needed, to support with temporary roofing for disaster survivors.

Disaster recovery centers are open in many disaster affected areas in Louisiana and Mississippi, These centers are the place for disaster survivors can meet face-to-face with officials from voluntary and non-profit agencies, local communities, the state and federal agencies such as FEMA and the Small Business Administration to learn more about the various types of assistance available to disaster survivors. For more information on disaster recovery centers, or to find a disaster recovery center near you, check out www.fema.gov/disaster-recovery-centers or by mobile phone at m.fema.gov.

Since Friday, when President Obama approved Individual Assistance as part of the Major Disaster declaration for Louisiana requested by the Governor, more than 86,850 Louisianans have registered for assistance, with roughly $4.14 million approved, so far, for housing assistance and other needs. Individual Assistance was approved for Mississippi Saturday night, and since then more than 3, 949 Mississippi residents have registered for assistance.

Individuals and business owners in Louisiana and Mississippi who sustained losses in the counties and parishes designated in the major disaster declarations can apply for assistance by registering online at www.disasterassistance.gov or by web enabled mobile device at m.fema.gov. Those who do not have access to the internet can call 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or visit a disaster recovery center in the designated counties and parishes. Assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, and uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and households recover from the effects of the disaster. Survivors who have a speech disability or hearing loss and use TTY should call 1-800-462-7585 directly; those who use 711 or Video Relay Service (VRS) should call 1-800-621-3362. The toll-free telephone numbers are open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. (local time) seven days a week until further notice.

In support of Louisiana, FEMA recently transferred more than 2.4 million liters of water, 2.4 million meals, 1,200 cots, and 32,500 tarps to the State of Louisiana for the state to distribute to individuals at Points of Distribution (POD) sites. The state, in coordination with local governments, identifies the location of these PODs which are currently operating across a number of parishes. Individuals should contact their local emergency management for more information.

The federal team continues to work side by side with state and local authorities to assist governors of impacted states as communities respond and recover. Incident Management Assistance teams are on the ground in Mississippi and Louisiana to support state, tribal and local needs. Mobile Emergency Response Teams are also in Louisiana and Mississippi to support state emergency communications requirements including voice, video and information services. Also, hundreds of community relations staff are on the ground in Louisiana and Mississippi.

Joint federal, state and local disaster assessments are underway in Louisiana, Mississippi and Florida. Plans are being made for assessments in other areas, as they become accessible. These assessments identify the damages in impacted counties to help the governor determine if additional federal support will be requested.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has more than 200 personnel deployed in the Gulf and has established two Federal Medical Stations available as shelters for medical special needs patients. HHS staff and medical supplies continue to assist in moving patients in Louisiana, although this need is decreasing, allowing 40 ambulances contracted through FEMA to demobilize with 60 remaining. In the first week after the storm made landfall in Louisiana, ambulances contracted through FEMA responded to more than 300 calls and treated more than 270 patients. Approximately 425 patients were transported using paratransit contracted through FEMA. As per the state of Louisiana's request, FEMA extended the National Medical Transport and Support Services contract for ambulance service for the next 72 hours to continue with the transportation of patients to and from their homes or medical care facilities.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food and Nutrition Service approved Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance (DSNAP) in the parishes of Ascension, Jefferson, Lafourche, Livingston, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. John the Baptist and St. Tammany starting Wednesday, September 4. The program provides food assistance for eligible households who do not receive regular SNAP benefits and who need help buying groceries due to lost income or damages following a disaster. To help expedite the application process, individuals should pre-apply for DSNAP either online at www.dcfs.la.gov/preapply or www.getagameplan.org or by calling 1-888-LAHELP-U (888-524-3578) between 7 a.m. and 11 p.m. When applying by phone, callers should select the appropriate language and then select options 3 and 3.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have deployed Temporary Power Teams to Louisiana and Mississippi and are installing FEMA provided generators at critical facilities. Of these, the Corps installed generators at nine sites, including a shelter, a hospital, a command center, a water system plant and a sewer lift station.

Last week, President Obama signed major disaster declarations for the states of Louisiana and Mississippi, making federal aid available to supplement state and local response efforts for emergency protective measures and debris removal in the areas affected by Hurricane Isaac beginning on August 26, 2012. These declarations build upon emergency declarations issued for both states prior to the Isaac's landfall. Statewide hazard mitigation is available to all counties and tribal governments in Mississippi, and to all parishes and tribal governments in Louisiana.

On Friday, the Louisiana major disaster declaration was amended to include Individual Assistance for Jefferson, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. John the Baptist, and St. Tammany parishes. Saturday, Ascension, Lafourche, Livingston and Orleans Parishes were added to this disaster declaration. Also, an amendment was announced, Saturday, for Mississippi making federal funding available for affected individuals in Hancock, Harrison, Jackson, and Pearl River counties. Assistance may include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and households recover from the effects of the disaster.

Below is an updated timeline of some of the key activities and events that have occurred over the weekend in the wake of Isaac. With much of the recovery work being closely coordinated in the field, this will be the last daily timeline of events. We encourage you to visit the disaster-specific web pages for Mississippi and Louisiana at fema.gov for more information.

Monday, September 3, 2012

· President Barack Obama travels to Louisiana to meet with state and local officials and view ongoing response and recovery efforts for Hurricane Isaac.

· FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate remains in the Gulf Coast area. Throughout the week, he has been to both Louisiana and Mississippi to meet with state and local officials and see firsthand the impact and the response efforts.

· Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano joined FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate on a video-teleconference call today to discuss the latest developments with the National Weather Service, partner agencies and regional representatives to assess their needs and readiness. The conference had the participation of emergency management leadership from the affected states including Mississippi and Louisiana.

· A Federal Disaster Recovery Coordinator (FDRC) is on the ground in Louisiana.

· Joint federal, state and local disaster assessments are underway in Florida, Mississippi, and Louisiana. Plans are being made for assessments in other areas, as they become accessible. These assessments identify the damages in impacted counties to help the governor determine if additional federal support will be requested.

· As of 3:00 p.m. eastern time, more than 86,850 Louisianans have registered for assistance, with roughly $4.14 million approved, so far, for housing assistance and other needs. Individual Assistance was approved for Mississippi Saturday night, and since then more than 3, 949 Mississippi residents have registered for assistance.

· Disaster recovery centers are open in Louisiana and Mississippi. Specialists from the state, FEMA, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and voluntary and non-profit agencies will be on hand to answer questions and provide information on the types of assistance available to survivors. To find a disaster recovery center location, check out the disaster recovery center locator at www.fema.gov/disaster-recovery-centers or by mobile phone at m.fema.gov.

· FEMA Disability Integration Advisors (DIAs) in Mississippi outreached to disability community leaders and survivors with functional and access needs sharing educational materials. DIAs coordinated the availability of accessibility kits for Disaster Recovery Center and coordinated the video relay remote access for effective communication for survivors who are deaf.

· The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has more than 200 personnel deployed in the Gulf and has established two Federal Medical Stations available as shelters for medical special needs patients. HHS staff and medical supplies continue to assist in moving patients in Louisiana, although this need is decreasing, allowing 40 ambulances contracted through FEMA to demobilize with 60 remaining. In the first week after the storm made landfall in Louisiana, ambulances contracted through FEMA responded to more than 300 calls and treated more than 270 patients. Approximately 425 patients were transported using paratransit contracted through FEMA As per the state of Louisiana's request, FEMA extended the National Medical Transport and Support Services contract for ambulance service for the next 72 hours to continue with the transportation of patients to and from their homes or medical care facilities.

· The Disaster Distress Helpline, 1-800-985-5990, remains activated for residents of the Gulf states. As of Friday, the Helpline had received approximately 170 calls since the hurricane made landfall. Most of the calls came from Gulf Coast residents. The Helpline is a 24 hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week resource that responds to people seeking crisis counseling after experiencing a natural or man-made disaster or tragedy. Multiple HHS agencies are promoting the helpline through social media.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) worked closely with the states of Louisiana and Mississippi. To date, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers deployed more than 150 industrial-sized generators, overall, to supplement state and local resources. The Corps installed generators at seven sites, including a shelter, a command center, a water system plant and a sewer lift station.

· The U.S. Coast Guard coordinated with FEMA, Environmental Protection Agency and the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality to identify and respond to oil and other hazardous material and debris releases as a result of the storm.

· The U.S. Coast Guard assessed the impacts to offshore and port facilities, as well as the maritime transportation system is ongoing in our effort to restore the flow of commerce and other traffic along the Mississippi River.

· The National Guard Bureau provided essential lifesaving services and assisting in the clean up and debris removal in Louisiana and Mississippi. More than 4,500 National Guard Soldiers and Airmen in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida are on State Active Duty, with more than 33,600 additional Guardsmen available to support relief operations.

· Department of Energy (DOE) reported that energy restoration efforts are underway in Mississippi and Louisiana, and according to area utility providers a workforce of more than 15,000 electricity workers from over 24 states continue to assess the damage and conduct energy restoration efforts. Some localities already have power restored.

· U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food and Nutrition Service approved Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance (DSNAP) in the parishes of Ascension, Jefferson, Lafourche, Livingston, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. John the Baptist and St. Tammany starting Wednesday, September 4. The program provides food assistance for eligible households who do not receive regular SNAP benefits and who need help buying groceries due to lost income or damages following a disaster. To help expedite the application process, individuals should pre-apply for DSNAP prior to Wednesday either online at www.dcfs.la.gov/preapply or www.getagameplan.org or by calling 1-888-LAHELP-U (888-524-3578) between 7 a.m. and 11 p.m. When applying by phone, callers should select the appropriate language and then select options 3 and 3.

· National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (National VOAD) members including voluntary, non-profit and faith-based organizations worked with the state and communities to assist with providing mobile feeding in areas where there are power outages, assist with debris removal and, as needed, to support with temporary roofing for disaster survivors. NECHAMA, a non-profit social service organization partnered with All Hands Volunteers along the coast to coordinate spontaneous unaffiliated volunteers to assist with debris removal and muck-outs.

· The American Red Cross served more than 193,00 meals and snacks, 11,100 relief items, 2500 disaster responders and identified more than 1,700 health practitioners in Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas. The American Red Cross has opened shelters in several Gulf Coast states and is mobilizing trained disaster workers across the region. To find an open shelter, please visit http://www.redcross.org/find-help/shelter.

· The American Red Cross deployed nearly 200 emergency response vehicles are traveling through affected neighborhoods, distributing hot meals and relief supplies. Red Cross is working closely with government agencies and community organizations to coordinate this multi-state relief response. Partners like AmeriCorps, Islamic Relief USA, NAACP and the National Baptist Convention USA are assisting the Red Cross to provide help and comfort. The Red Cross received assistance from a number of companies including Spectrum Brands, Walgreens, Coca-Cola, Home Depot and Vision Services, who provided items such as insect repellent, bottled water and snacks.

· The Louisiana Service Commission established a web portal at www.volunteerlouisiana.gov to help with coordinating donations and volunteers. The Mississippi Commission for Volunteer Service has established a web portal at www.mcvs.org for volunteer opportunities and donation information. Cash is the preferred method of donation in order to ensure that disaster survivors get the services and supplies they need quickly.

· Salvation Army teams in Florida, Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana distributed over 22,000 meals, 29,000 drinks, 354 comfort kits, and operated 25 mobile feeding units.

· Habitat for Humanity International reported local Habitats are checking on homes and conducting assessments in their communities and is engaged in dialog with LA and MS VOAD and local governments on clean-up efforts.

· United Way Worldwide opened up Volunteer Reception Centers to intake the unaffiliated volunteers from other States and assisting with tying them in with established organizations performing response and recovery operations.

· Islamic Circle of North America opened Masjid shelters and hosts located in Baton Rouge, LA; Lafayette, LA; Jackson, MS; and Beaumont, TX with a total population of over 60 individuals. These shelters provided gender-segregated sleeping space, catered food to meet the dietary needs, congregational prayer space, and common knowledge of practicing Muslims, and vouchers for local hotel accommodations.

· Mississippi Southern Baptists (MSB) had two (2) field kitchens supporting mobile feeding along the coast. MSB have served in excess of 4,500 meals and snacks, has chain saw and debris removal teams assisting residents and a temporary roofing team available to assist with applying plastic sheeting.

Amtrak service resumed between New York and New Orleans; service is suspended between New Orleans and San Antonio; and between New Orleans and Chicago.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

· Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano traveled to Mississippi and Louisiana to visit some of the areas damaged from the storm. In Bay St. Louis, Miss., Secretary Napolitano met with Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant, Mississippi Emergency Management Agency Executive Director Robert Latham, Senator Roger Wicker, Rep. Steven Palazzo, Bay St. Louis Mayor Les Fillingame and other officials, and toured areas damaged by Hurricane Isaac.

· Secretary Napolitano then traveled to Slidell, La. to join Senator Mary Landrieu, Rep. Steve Scalise, Slidell Mayor Freddy Drennan, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu and other officials to meet with first responders and emergency management teams, and survey coordination among federal, state and local partners on response and recovery efforts throughout the region.

· FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate was in Louisiana and met with local officials and FEMA staff. FEMA Federal Coordinating Officers remained on the ground in Mississippi and Louisiana, working closely with state and local officials to provide the full resources of the federal government to support response efforts to protect lives and property.

· Individuals and business owners in Louisiana and Mississippi who sustained losses in the designated counties and parishes can apply for assistance by registering online at www.disasterassistance.gov or by web enabled mobile device at m.fema.gov. Those who do not have access to the internet can call 1-800-621-FEMA (3362). Assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, and uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and households recover from the effects of the disaster. Survivors who have a speech disability or hearing loss and use TTY should call 1-800-462-7585 directly; those who use 711 or Video Relay Service (VRS) should call 1-800-621-3362. The toll-free telephone numbers are open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. (local time) seven days a week until further notice.

· To date, more than 35,000 Louisianans registered for assistance, with roughly $400,000 approved, so far, for housing assistance and other needs. Since Individual Assistance was approved for Mississippi last night, more than 1,000 Mississippi residents have registered for assistance.

· Disaster recovery centers were open in Plaquemines Parish and St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana. Additional disaster recovery centers opened in Louisiana and Mississippi, today. Specialists from the state, FEMA and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) were on hand to answer questions and provide information on the types of assistance available to survivors. To find a disaster recovery center location, check out the disaster recovery center locator at www.fema.gov/disaster-recovery-centers or by mobile phone at m.fema.gov.

· Joint federal, state and local disaster assessments were underway in Louisiana, Mississippi and Florida. Plans were being made for assessments in other areas, as they become accessible. These assessments identify the damages in impacted counties to help the governor determine if additional federal support will be requested.

· In support of Louisiana, FEMA recently transferred more than 1.4 million liters of water, 1.3 million meals, and 28,800 tarps to the State of Louisiana for the state to distribute to individuals at Points of Distribution (POD) sites. The state, in coordination with local governments, identifies the location of these PODs which are currently operating across a number of parishes. Individuals should contact their local emergency management for more information.

· To date, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) deployed more than 150 industrial-sized generators, overall, to supplement state and local resources. USACE installed generators at seven sites, including a shelter, a command center, a water system plant and a sewer lift station.

· The U.S. Coast Guard reported the ports of Mobile and Panama City were open and Pascagoula were open with restrictions. In Sector New Orleans, Gulf Inter-coastal Waterway, New Orleans, Baton Rouge, and ports along the Lower Mississippi River below mile marker 130 were open. Lower Mississippi River ports above mile marker 130 were open with restrictions.

More information about the full federal response and activities is available at yesterday's blog post recap.

FEMA's mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.

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IN THE AFTERMATH OF HURRICANE ISAAC, THE SUPPORT OF VOLUNTEERS IS KEY

September 4, 2012

National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster actively involved in disaster response

WASHINGTON - In the wake of Hurricane Isaac, voluntary agencies continue to be a vital member of the disaster response and recovery team, working alongside state and local emergency responders to help to address immediate needs of survivors. The public can play an important role with the emergency management team, volunteering their time, money, and energy to help disaster survivors and their families. There are ways individuals can support the ongoing response and recovery efforts, whether they live in one of the affected areas or across the country.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is advising people who want to help survivors affected by Hurricane Isaac to do so through affiliation with the voluntary organizations that are active in the ongoing disaster operations.

"When disasters occur, local and national voluntary agencies are often among some of the first responders on the ground to help survivors with the support and resources that they need," said FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate. "In Isaac, we've already seen field kitchens opening in the hardest hit neighborhoods with thousands of meals being served; dozens of shelters available for temporary housing relief; and teams on the ground to assist with debris removal and temporary roofs. We encourage all interested in providing financial assistance to Isaac survivors to visit the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (National VOAD) website at www.nvoad.org to donate to the agency of your choosing. Your support during this time goes a far way to helping these communities recover."

National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (National VOAD) serves as the primary point of contact for voluntary organization coordination in FEMA's National Response Coordination Center, supporting Emergency Support Function 6 (Mass Care, Emergency Assistance, Housing, and Human Services). National VOAD continues to work with a network of more than 50 national agencies and 55 state and territorial VOADs providing countless volunteers and services to support response and recovery efforts.

National VOAD members including voluntary, non-profit and faith-based organizations are working closely with the state and communities to assist with providing mobile feeding in areas where there are power outages, assist with debris removal and, as needed, to support with temporary roofing for disaster survivors.

Examples of ongoing work include:

· The American Red Cross has opened shelters in several Gulf Coast states and has been mobilizing trained disaster workers across the region. Sunday night about 660 people stayed in 18 Red Cross or community shelters in Louisiana and Mississippi and thousands of Red Cross disaster workers are lending a hand. Almost 200 emergency response vehicles are traveling through affected neighborhoods, distributing hot meals and relief supplies. More than 193,000 meals and snacks have already been served.

· With a large response effort spanning multiple states, the Red Cross is working closely with government agencies and community organizations to coordinate this multi-state relief response. Partners like AmeriCorps, Islamic Relief USA, NAACP and the National Baptist Convention USA are assisting to provide help and comfort. In addition, a number of companies such as Spectrum Brands, Walgreens, Coca-Cola, Home Depot and Vision Services, have contributed items such as insect repellent, bottled water and snacks.

· Salvation Army teams in Florida, Mississippi, Alabama, and Louisiana have distributed over 34,419 meals, 41,977 drinks, 26,275 snacks, 364 comfort kits, operated 25 mobile feeding units, 1 fixed feeding kitchen, provided emotional and spiritual care to 890 individuals, and have put in 7,377 hours of service.

· Habitat for Humanity International reported local Habitats are checking on homes and conducting assessments in their communities and is engaged in dialog with Louisiana and Mississippi VOAD and local governments on clean-up efforts.

· NECHAMA, a Jewish non-profit social service organization, has partnered with All Hands Volunteers along the coast to coordinate spontaneous unaffiliated volunteers to assist with debris removal and muck-outs.

· United Way is standing up Volunteer Reception Centers to intake the unaffiliated volunteers from other states and tie them in with established organizations performing response and recovery operations.

· Team Rubicon, an organization which unites the skills and experiences of military veterans with emergency responders, has provided teams of volunteers to assist local authorities with road openings, debris removal, and logistics coordination.

· Islamic Circle of North America had opened Masjid shelters and hosts located in Baton Rouge, LA; Lafayette, LA; Jackson, MS; and Beaumont, TX; with a total population of over 60 individuals. These shelters provided gender-segregated sleeping space, catered food to meet the dietary needs, congregational prayer space, and common knowledge of practicing Muslims, and vouchers for local hotel accommodations.

Louisiana

· Louisiana Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (LA VOAD) continues to work with the mass feeding team to support the delivery of hot meals to Point of Distribution Sites (PODS). Operation Blessing, Southern Baptist Men, Convoy of Hope and many others are supporting the State's effort.

· As of September 1, 2012 Adventist Community Services mobile unit has served 1198 of clothing kits (which include socks, underwear, pants, and t-shirts), care kits, and blankets at the Jewella Shelter in Shreveport, LA.

Mississippi

· Mississippi Southern Baptists (MSB) has two field kitchens supporting mobile feeding along the coast and has served in excess of 4,500 meals and snacks. Feeding is expected to continue through the end of this week. MSB also is assisting residents with chain saw and debris removal teams and is also assisting with a temporary roofing team applying plastic sheeting. Living Word Baptist Church has been assisting with muck outs and debris removal.

· Presbyterian Disaster Assistance and Camp Victor are providing volunteer housing for groups coming in to assist in response and recovery activities.

The activities of the voluntary agencies are far reaching and anyone interested in providing assistance to Isaac survivors may visit the National VOAD website at www.nvoad.org to learn more. Individuals' support during this time goes a far way to helping these communities recover, and according to the National VOAD, there are several ways to help disaster survivors. They include:

· Donation of Cash - A financial contribution to a recognized disaster relief organization is the most effective donation to make. When the public supports these voluntary organizations with financial contributions, it helps ensure a steady flow of important services to the people in need after a disaster.

· Volunteering - Volunteer with a recognized organization involved in disaster response and recovery. While newly recruited volunteers may not complete training in time to assist with the Isaac response, they will be prepared to help with the next disaster event.

· Donation of Goods - Before taking action, confirm what is needed and donate in-kind goods that are specifically requested or needed by recognized organizations. Receiving and managing unsolicited donated goods often redirects voluntary agencies' valuable resources away from the services required to meet the needs of disaster survivors.

In addition, the Louisiana Service Commission has established a web portal at www.volunteerlouisiana.gov to help with coordinating donations and volunteers. The Mississippi Commission for Volunteer Service has established a web portal at www.mcvs.org for volunteer opportunities and donation information. Cash is the preferred method of donation in order to ensure that disaster survivors get the services and supplies they need quickly.

Just as the federal government works closely with 50 plus National VOAD members, as well as many other voluntary, community, and faith-based organizations, each state also has its own organizes State Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster. For information on VOADs in affected states, please visit the following: Alabama; Florida; Mississippi; Louisiana.

FEMA's mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.

Follow FEMA online at blog.fema.gov, www.twitter.com/fema, www.facebook.com/fema, and www.youtube.com/fema. Also, follow Administrator Craig Fugate's activities at www.twitter.com/craigatfema. The social media links provided are for reference only. FEMA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies or applications.

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EMERGENCY PREPARATION IS KEY, AND NOT JUST FOR HURRICANES .

Florida Association of Public Insurance Adjusters Encourages Homeowners, Businesses to Have Plan for Property Damage

MIAMI, Fla., (August 31, 2012) – As emergency officials this week deal with the aftermath of Hurricane Isaac, which impacted parts of the state from the Florida Keys to the Panhandle, the Florida Association of Public Insurance Adjusters (FAPIA) is urging commercial and residential property owners to mark National Preparedness Month in September by planning for emergencies both big and small.

With regions of the state now working to recover from Tropical Storm Isaac damage, FAPIA is reminding Floridians to evaluate their storm plan to include a full understanding of their property insurance policies and their obligations in the event of damage. Moreover, commercial and residential policyholders should be ready for smaller, everyday emergencies like plumbing leaks, kitchen fires, and other property-damaging incidents. As the statewide association advocating for insurance policyholders, the organization encourages homeowners and business owners to have a plan and disaster kit that includes along with food and water and insurance documents – contact information for a trusted public adjuster.

"In a hurricane-prone state like Florida, it is easy for policyholders to think of these storms as the only emergencies for which we need to prepare," said FAPIA President George Keys. "But as public adjusters, many of the damaging events we help consumers deal with are smaller in scope but nonetheless costly -- fires, plumbing-related floods and the like. September National Preparedness Month is the perfect reminder to be ready for anything that might damage your property."

Having a trusted public adjuster can ease the burden for policyholders faced with damage, whether it is from a hurricane like Isaac or a burst water pipe that ruins a home’s tile floors. Public adjusters are the only licensed, bonded and trained advocates who work exclusively for insured policyholders, preparing, presenting and adjusting claims on their behalf. Policyholders who move too hastily and without proper counsel run the risk of making unnecessary fixes that insurance policies don't cover, or of fixing damage before getting the documentation necessary to get their claim paid. FAPIA urges policyholders to prepare now by taking these simple but important steps:

1. Make a visual record of your home and possessions. Use your digital camera, smart phone or video recorder to document the condition of your home and belongings before any damage.

2. Prepare a detailed list of all your personal and business property before a disaster strikes. This will help document your claim after a loss.

3. Gather up receipts for large items such as major appliances, furniture and electronics; make copies to include with your property inventory.

4. Create a disaster supply kit that includes copies of your insurance policies, family medical information, deeds and wills, etc. Place the originals of those important documents in a safe deposit box, safe or in a tightly sealed container in your car.

5. Carefully review your insurance coverage to determine your deductible on any potential loss.

6. Know your home's vulnerability to storm surge, flooding, and wind; confirm whether your policy covers such damage.

7. Review the “Duties After Loss” section of your policy. Failure to follow the provisions listed in this section could result in non-payment on your legitimate claim. Check the “Exclusions” portion of your windstorm policy. Many insurance companies have added new exclusions to coverage, which could affect your protection.

8. If you plan to use the help of a public adjuster, research now to find a licensed FAPIA member you trust. To identify licensed FAPIA members in your market, visit www.FAPIA.net and print out contact information. Keep this contact information in your disaster kit.

For more information on Public Insurance Adjusters, and to download this checklist, visit www.WhoIsYourPublicAdjuster.com.

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TAKE CAUTION AROUND FLOOD WATERS FROM HURRICANE ISAAC

August 29, 2012

~Private well owners in flooded areas should take special precautions~

TALLAHASSEE – Although skin contact with flood waters does not, by itself, pose a serious health risk, health hazards are a concern when waters become contaminated. Flood waters may contain fecal material and associated bacteria and viruses.

The State Emergency Response Team and the Florida Department of Health (DOH) recommend the following precautions to prevent possible illness from flood waters:

· Basic hygiene is critical. Wash your hands with soap and water that has been boiled or disinfected before preparing or eating food, after toilet use, after participating in flood cleanup activities and after handling articles contaminated with flood water or sewage.

· Avoid eating or drinking anything that has been contaminated with flood waters.

· Do not wade through standing water. If you do, bathe and put on clean clothes as soon as possible.

· Avoid contact with flood waters if you have open cuts or sores. If you have any open cuts or sores and cannot avoid contact with flood waters, keep them as clean as possible by washing well with soap and clean water to control infection. If a wound develops redness, swelling, or drainage, seek immediate medical attention. Individuals who sustain lacerations and/or puncture wounds and have not had a tetanus vaccination within the past five years require a tetanus booster.

For private well owners in flooded areas and/or communities where a boil water notice has been issued, DOH recommends one of the following:

· Boil water before use, holding it at rolling boil for at least one minute before using it for drinking, washing and cooking.

· Disinfect water by adding eight drops (about 1/8 tsp – this would form a puddle about the size of a dime) of plain unscented household bleach (4 to 6%) per gallon of water, and then let it stand for 30 minutes. If the water is cloudy after 30 minutes, repeat the procedure. Use a container that has a cap or cover for disinfecting and storing water to be used for drinking. This will prevent contamination; or use bottled water, especially for mixing baby formula.

After the flooding subsides:

· Have your water tested by your local health department or by a laboratory certified by the state to perform a drinking water analysis for coliform bacteria.

· Disinfect your well using the procedures available from your local health department or provided on the DOH website: http://www.doh.state.fl.us/environment/water/manual/floodinf.htm.

If your plumbing is functioning slowly or sluggishly, you should:

· Conserve water as much as possible; the less water used the less sewage the septic tank must process. Minimize use of your washing machine. Go to a laundry mat. Rental of a portable toilet for a temporary period may be another option.

· If you cannot use your plumbing without creating a sanitary nuisance (i.e., without sewage being exposed), consider moving to a new location until conditions improve.

· If there is a backflow of sewage into your house, wear rubber boots and waterproof gloves during cleanup. Remove and discard absorbent household materials, such as wall coverings, cloth, rugs and sheetrock. Clean walls and hard-surfaced floors with soap and water and disinfect with a solution of 1/4 cup of bleach to one gallon of water. Thoroughly disinfect food contact surfaces (counter tops, refrigerators, tables) and areas where small children play. Wash all linens and clothing in hot water, detergent and bleach, if possible. Air dry larger items in the sun and spray them with a disinfectant. Steam clean all carpeting.

· Do not have the septic tank pumped. Exceptionally high water tables might crush a septic tank that was pumped dry. If the fundamental problem is high ground water, pumping the tank does nothing to solve that problem.

· Do not have the septic tank and drain field repaired until the ground has dried. Often systems are completely functional when unsaturated conditions return. Any repair must be permitted and inspected by your county health department.

For additional information, please contact your local county health department or visit www.doh.state.fl.us. Follow the Florida Department of Health on Twitter at @HealthyFla and on Facebook.

For more information on preparation for and response to Tropical Storm Isaac, call the Florida Emergency Information Line at 1-800-342-3557. Hearing-impaired persons may call the Florida Telecommunications Relay at 1-800-226-4329 to receive information and access TTY systems. For local details, contact your county emergency management agency.

The Atlantic Hurricane Season runs from June 1 – November 30. To GET A PLAN! visit www.FloridaDisaster.org. For the latest information on the 2012 Hurricane Season, follow us on Twitter at www.Twitter.com/flsert and on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/FloridaSERT.

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AMICA INSURANCE OFFERS TIPS TO PREPARE FOR POWER OUTAGES FROM HURRICANE ISAAC

August 28, 2012

Don’t let Isaac – or other storms – leave you in the dark: Amica Insurance offers tips to prepare and protect yourself in the event of a power outage

LINCOLN, RI Aug. 28, 2012 –With Hurricane Isaac threatening much of the Gulf Coast, Amica Insurance is sharing some tips to help prepare and protect yourself in the event of a power outage.

“Hurricanes and tropical storms often result in widespread power outages,” said Vince Burks, a spokesman for Amica Insurance. “Depending on the severity of the storm, you could be without power for several hours – or several days. So it’s best to prepare as much as possible in advance.”

Make sure to have nonperishable food, water and first aid supplies on hand, Burks said. Here are some other tips from the American Red Cross and other emergency agencies:

Make sure you have working flashlights and extra batteries.
Charge cell phones and other electronic devices.
Stock up on ice and coolers, which can be used to help keep refrigerated foods cold.
If your water supply could be affected by a power outage, fill your bathtub in advance. You can use this to fill pails of water that can be used to flush toilets.
Make sure you have extra cash on hand. ATMs may not work during an extended power outage.
If the power goes out:

Contact your local utility company, especially if power lines are down in your area. Do not go near downed power lines.
Turn off and unplug major appliances including televisions, computers, stereos and other electronics to avoid damage from a power surge when the power comes back on.
Leave on one light so you’ll know when the power is back on.
Do not use a generator unless it has been properly installed and is properly ventilated to avoid the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
Avoid unnecessary travel. Traffic lights could be out and power lines could be down, making driving dangerous.
If the power is expected to be out for an extended period of time, consider staying with family members or friends or getting a hotel room, Burks suggested. Many communities also offer emergency shelters.

“Extended power outages can be incredibly stressful,” Burks said. “But it’s important to make sure you and your family stay safe.”

For more power outage safety tips, visit www.redcross.org or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

About Amica Mutual Insurance

Amica Mutual Insurance Company, the nation's oldest mutual insurer of automobiles, was founded in 1907. The company, with corporate headquarters in Lincoln, RI, is a national writer of automobile, homeowners, marine and personal umbrella liability insurance. Life coverage is available through Amica Life Insurance Company, a wholly owned subsidiary. Amica employs more than 3,100 people in 40 offices across the country.

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DBPR: IN WAKE OF TROPICAL STORM ISAAC, HIRE LICENSED PROFESSIONALS FOR REPAIRS

August 28, 2012

~ Use social media to report unlicensed activity ~

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – As clean-up after Tropical Storm Isaac in South Florida begins and the northwestern part of the state continues to endure significant rainfall and flooding, the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) today urged consumers to hire licensed professionals for repairs and recovery. Consumers are also encouraged to post or tweet pictures to the Department’s social media channels if they suspect someone is performing unlicensed activity, enabling inspectors to gather information from areas that may have limited accessibility. Flooding has been reported in more than six counties and tornado activity has been reported in the southern region of the state.

“Residents all across the state will be impacted by this storm,” said Secretary Ken Lawson. “It is important that Floridians protect themselves from post-storm scams and unlicensed activity by checking licenses.”

During a declared state of emergency, unlicensed activity typically increases as scam artists prey on desperate situations. Unlicensed activity during a declared state of emergency is a felony offense and may be punishable by fines or even prison if convicted.

The following tips may help consumers better identify unlicensed activity:

Always ask to see the state of Florida license.

Note the license number and verify that the license is current and in good standing. To check a license, call 850-487-1395, visit www.MyFloridaLicense.com or download the DBPR iPhone or Android mobile app.

Ask for references and check each one.

Avoid paying cash and be cautious of writing checks made payable to individuals, especially when dealing with a company.

Get everything in writing, including a detailed description of the work to be completed, a completion date and the total cost.

Floridians can also notify the Department of Business and Professional Regulation of any suspected unlicensed activity by calling 1-866-532-1440, emailing ULA@dbpr.state.fl.us or posting a picture with the address where the work is being performed to the Department’s Facebook or Twitter pages. Floridians can find additional information on creating a plan and tips on weathering the storms this Hurricane Season at www.FloridaDisaster.org.

The Department of Business and Professional Regulation’s mission is to license efficiently and regulate fairly. The Department licenses and regulates more than one million businesses and professionals ranging from hotels and restaurants, real estate agents and certified public accountants to veterinarians, contractors and cosmetologists. For more information, please visit www.MyFloridaLicense.com.

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RISK MANAGEMENT TIPS FOR HOMEOWNERS

August 28, 2012

With effects of Hurricane Isaac underway, including power outages and electrical service interruptions, Florida homeowners face many risks and exposures.

To mitigate risks for homeowners in the aftermath of the storm, The Hartford Steam Boiler Inspection and Insurance Company (HSB), part of Munich Re, has created a list of measures that can help protect home equipment and avoid dangers if/when a power outage occurs:

* Unplug computers, home entertainment systems and non-essential equipment and appliances. This helps prevent surge damage when electrical power is restored.

* Operate portable generators only through a properly installed transfer switch or plug appliances directly into the generator using a properly rated extension cord.

* Do not connect a generator to a home’s electrical system which can feed power onto exterior power lines and cause an electrocution risk to utility employees

* Do not run portable generator in enclosed spaces such as a garage to avoid the danger of carbon monoxide.

* Limit opening refrigerator and freezer doors. Food will keep longer if doors remain closed. If the power is out longer than two hours, throw away food that has a temperature higher than 40°F.

* Do not use charcoal or gas grills or camp stoves for cooking in enclosed areas.

* Stay away from downed power lines. Always assume the lines are “live.” Call 911 to report any downed lines.

* Homeowners with automatic garage door openers should check the manufacturer’s instructions to learn how to open the door manually.

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TRANSPORTATION ADVISORIES AS ISAAC RIDES THE COAST

Chipley, Florida- August 27, 2012

The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) is providing an update on road and bridge closures and restrictions in Northwest Florida due to Tropical Storm Isaac.

FDOT has suspended interstate and highway maintenance and construction indefinitely to allow for an increase in traffic as motorists evacuate from the Florida panhandle coastline area. All rail, transit and seaport facilities are functioning as normal.

Escambia County
· Pensacola International Airport will suspend operations beginning at 11:59 p.m. Monday, Aug. 27 until further notice. The last flight is scheduled to arrive at 11:15 p.m.

Santa Rosa County
· At the direction of the Florida State Emergency Operations Center, tolls were suspended on the Garcon Point Bridge in Santa Rosa County at 8 a.m., EDT, Monday, Aug. 27 to aid in evacuation efforts. Tolls will remain suspended until further notice.

Walton County
· Law enforcement officials are expected to close the Choctawhachee Bay Bridge on U.S. 331 (State Road 83) Monday, Aug. 27 once wind speeds reach 40 mph.

Motorists are encouraged to monitor weather reports and road conditions and to be on the lookout for flooded roads. If the road ahead is flooded, turn around and find an alternate route. Flooded roads may hide the fact that the roadway is washed out underneath and as little as six inches of rushing water can force your car off the road.

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For the latest closures and updates from the Florida Department of Transportation District Three follow us on twitter at @myfdot_nwfl.

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FLORIDA FEARS FLOODING FROM ISAAC

Tallahassee, Florida- August 27, 2012

Governor Scott urged Floridians to use caution, as impacts from Tropical Storm Isaac continue throughout Florida. Some areas of the state have experienced record rainfall during this storm and flooding remains the main concern for Florida’s emergency officials. Areas already saturated in the Big Bend and Panhandle areas will see additional rainfall, and Floridians should take necessary precautions to protect life and property. Floridians are encouraged to use caution when driving, and never drive through flooded roadways.

As of 5 pm EDT
Watches and Warnings Issued for Florida:
· Tropical Storm Warning – From the Florida/Alabama border to the Aucilla River in the Florida Panhandle. This includes the counties of: Escambia, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa, Gulf, Bay, Walton, coastal Franklin, coastal Wakulla, and coastal Jefferson.
· Severe Weather Potential: Additional tornado watches and warnings are possible today. Stay tuned to local media for up to date information about tornado watches and warnings in your area and take immediate safety precautions.
· Flood Warning: Broward County until 10:30pm EDT, Wakulla County until further notice, River Flood Warnings are in effect for St. Marks River, Cypress Creek, Manatee River, Little Manatee River, Santa Fe River, Styx River, Blackwater River, Big Coldwater River, and the Shoal River until further notice.
· Flood Watch: a Flood Watch remains in effect for South Florida, including Broward, Collier, Miami-Dade, Palm Beach, Glades, Henry, and Monroe Counties through Tuesday morning.
· Flash Flood Watch: Florida Panhandle and Big Bend through Tuesday morning. Affected counties include Calhoun, Walton, Bay, Dixie, Franklin, Gulf, Jefferson, Taylor, Wakulla, Gadsden, Holmes, Jackson, Lafayette, Leon, Liberty, Madison, and Washington.
· High risk of rip currents: Beaches along Northeast and Southeast Florida today, as well as Gulf Coast and Panhandle beaches through Thursday evening. Dangerous rip currents can be life threatening to anyone entering the water. Be sure to check beach warning flags before swimming.

Florida Summary:

· It remains important for Floridians to stay cognizant of the developing weather situation and take necessary preparedness and safety actions. Tips are available at www.FloridaDisaster.org.
· Shelters are open in 9 counties, including 5 special needs shelters and 18 general population shelters. Visit http://floridadisaster.org/shelters/summary.htm for details.
· Schools are closed in 10 counties tomorrow.
· Seaports closed: Apalachicola River, Gulf Intracoastal Waterway, Panama City, Pensacola, Port St. Joe
· Airport closures: Marathon, Key West; Pensacola will close after the last inbound flights Monday evening (8/27/12), with a plan to reopen Thursday morning (8/30/12)
· Bridge closures: Miami-Dade bridges locked down; Miami River, Intracoastal Waterway and Snake Creek Bridges schedules to begin reopening. Sunshine Skyway Bridge high wind advisory in effect, no lane closures but motorists are advised to use caution.
· DOT tolls suspended: Garcon Point Bridge (Santa Rosa County)
· State building closures: Escambia County- James Building

Governor Scott will provide the next update from the State Emergency Operations Center in Tallahassee tomorrow at 12 noon. Satellite information:

Test time: 1145 ET Program Start: 1200 ET Program end: 1245 ET (+15 approx)
SES-2 /XP 18 (Ku digital) at 87 degrees West Longitude
Digital channel 9 (6 MHz)
Downlink Frequency: 12074.75 (V)
L-band: 1324.75
Symbol Rate: 4.444
FEC: 3/4
Modulation: QPSK
Data Rate: 6.14318
Audio: MPEG2
Uplink Phone: (850) 414-0104

For more information on preparation for and response to Tropical Storm Isaac, call the Florida Emergency Information Line at 1-800-342-3557. Hearing-impaired persons may call the Florida Telecommunications Relay at 1-800-226-4329 to receive information and access TTY systems. For local details, contact your county emergency management agency.

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The Atlantic Hurricane Season runs from June 1 – November 30. To GET A PLAN! visit www.FloridaDisaster.org. For the latest information on the 2012 Hurricane Season, follow us on Twitter at www.Twitter.com/flsert and on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/FloridaSERT.
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GUTTER CLEANING TIPS THAT CAN SAVE YOUR LIFE

Rocklin, California- August 27, 2012- Gutter Glove Release

If more homeowners knew the proper way to clean out their roof gutters, there would be less deaths and injuries. Fall is the season when gutters are cleaned out in preparation for the rainy season ahead. If the rainwater doesn’t flow properly through the gutter and downspout system, costly home repairs can add up from rainwater damage. It’s time to clean out those clogged gutters, and to do it safely.
According to Robert Lenney, Gutterglove gutter guard inventor and gutter cleaning expert whose company has cleaned out more than 6 million feet of gutter since 1996, being properly educated in the art of gutter cleaning is the key to a successful and safe cleaning experience.
“Cleaning out gutters is pretty easy as long as you know what you are doing,” replies Lenney. “Everytime I hear of someone getting hurt from cleaning their gutters makes me cringe, because it could most likely have been avoided had they followed proper cleaning procedures.”
There are a variety of gutter cleaning tips that can bring sanity into this tedious task. Some of the basics are listed below by Lenney:
Ladder Safety: Always let someone know you will be using a ladder to work on your roof or gutters. Use a safe and sturdy ladder, preferably with a small shelf strong enough to hold a five-gallon bucket to collect gutter debris. Make sure to secure the bucket with a lanyard. I recommend a four-legged step ladder for a single story home, and an extension ladder for a two-story home. An orchard ladder is not recommended because there are only three legs for support and they can become unbalanced.
A wooden ladder is also not recommended because they are often wobbly and difficult to safely balance. Fiberglass ladders seem to be the sturdiest, but are also the heaviest. If you are cleaning gutters for hours upon hours, muscle fatigue can set in from moving the heavy ladder numerous times. If this is the case, you should try using an aluminum ladder, which is the second-choice option for strength and support.
Inspect the ladder for defects, dents or loose parts before climbing. If your ladder is fastened together with screws and bolts, make sure all parts are tightened. When opening up a step ladder, make sure the extension-hinge arms are fully extended and locked in place.
Garden Hose: Use a garden hose with a pistol-grip trigger spray nozzle. This type of spray nozzle allows you to adjust the water pressure with the use of just one hand. This style of spray nozzle comes with a handy pistol-grip trigger, allowing it to be easily hung over the front edge of the gutter while moving the ladder, or while using a gutter scoop. This type of spray nozzle can be purchased at any hardware store.
Gutter Scoop: Scooping out the leafy debris seems to be the best overall method for cleaning out the gutter. An excellent tool for this job is the bright orange plastic “Gutter Getter” scoop, which can be purchased at most hardware stores. This tool is unique because the front scooping edge is very thin and it forms itself to the bottom of the gutter trough, making it easy to scoop out even the toughest of debris in any size gutter system.
Stay away from using a metal scooping tool because the bottom of the gutter and seams can be damaged and scratched. Scraping the bottom of a steel gutter can introduce areas to rust, and if the bottom of the gutter is already rusting, the rusting process could speed up.
Wear Gloves: Gloves can help protect hands against dirty, rotting leaf debris that often contains bird, pigeon and squirrel droppings that are ridden with bacteria. Gloves can also prevent painful cuts from the torn metal shards of an old, ragged gutter. Cotton gloves can soak up dirty water that exposes skin to bacteria. Leather gloves are not as maneuverable and tend to shrivel up when they dry after cleaning. Rubber gloves can get poked or torn by metal shards in the gutter. Thick, suede glove material is recommended because it is superior to cotton, thin leather or rubber gloves.
Protective Eye Wear: Eye protection is a must because one never knows what might fly out of the downspout when cleaning gutters. People have experienced rats, birds, frogs, wasps and bees leaving at high speeds once they start removing a clog, and the last thing they want to have happen is an eye injury.
Rake Off Roof: Rake all debris off the roof first. Otherwise, the next rain will wash all the debris down into the clean gutter, clogging it up again. Also, debris left on the roof can lead to water damming up in valleys or around the chimney, which can cause erosion and roof leaks over time.
Rubber Shoes: If walking on the roof is necessary to perform gutter cleaning, it is good to use rubber soled shoes. Rubber soles tend to adhere best and prevent slipping and falls. Roof tops tend to be moist in the morning, so it is best to walk on the roof after the sun is well up in the sky and has dried up all the moisture. Late mornings or early afternoons are the best times to walk on a roof.
Downspouts Unclogged: Make sure the downspouts (leader pipe) are clear. After all the gutters are cleaned out, run the water hose down the downspout at full pressure. If the water backs up out of the top, a clog is present. Normally, it can be unclogged by tapping on the side of the downspout. But if that doesn’t work, the downspout and back need to be removed, and it should be flushed from the bottom. If a clog is present, and the downspout is connected to an underground drain, it is best to disconnect the bottom of the downspout from the underground drain. Otherwise, the clog may move to the underground drain.
Clean Gutters Two Times A Year: Make sure gutters are cleaned at least twice a year, once in the fall and again in the spring. One main reason for cleaning out gutters is to eliminate the possibility of water damage from rainwater runoff due to a clogged gutter. Another reason is to reduce the possibility of rust corrosion. Even though it may not rain during the summer, if there is debris in the steel gutters, the rusting process can speed up. It’s difficult for rust to speed up with clean gutters. The faster the rusting process, the sooner new gutters will be needed.
Power Line Hazard: When cleaning gutters around a power line cable that drops from the power pole to the roof of a home, conduct a visual inspection of the electrical cable where it connects to the roof. This is to ensure that the protective wire insulation hasn’t rubbed off through years of wear-and-tear by weather and nearby trees. If the cable appears to have damage, do not attempt to repair it. Call a licensed professional electrical contractor to fix it.
If it’s raining and there is an electrical wire problem, do not attempt to clean out the gutters until the wires are fixed. Water is a dangerous conductor of electricity. Whether it’s raining or not, it would be a good idea to have the electrical wiring repaired before cleaning out your gutters.
Gutter Guards: Using a quality gutter guard can eliminate the need for cleaning out gutters. Consider carefully the manufacturer’s claims before purchasing a gutter protection system that keeps out leaves and pine needles, because many promises are made that can’t be delivered. Lenney manufacturers the Gutterglove Gutterguard, which are manufactured in the U.S., more information can be found at www.Gutterglove.com.
According to Lenney, he and his staff have found an amazing collection of items while cleaning gutters, including men’s underwear, diapers, socks, pigeon droppings, golf balls, tennis balls, syringes with sharps, dead animals, aluminum cans, children’s toys, live adult rats with babies in the nest, small and large frogs, wasp and bee nests, snakes in areas like Florida, books, newspapers, nails, and tile pieces. These are in addition, of course, to the usual debris, such as leaves, pine needles, seed pods and sand grit.
Lenney can’t turn this annual tedious job into a Disneyland experience, but he can make the job easier with these few simple cleaning tips and tricks while keeping safety in mind. Happy cleaning!
Side Bar:
8 TIPS FOR GUTTER CLEANING
Let someone know you are cleaning your gutters.
Use a safe and secure ladder.
Rake leaves off roof first.
Wear rubber-soled shoes when walking on roof.
Use plastic gutter scoop.
Wear gloves and proper eyewear.
Unclog downspouts.
Watch out for hazardous power lines.
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TIPS TO KEEP PETS SAFE IN A DISASTER

Dallas, Texas- August 27, 2012- Pet Smart Release

With Hurricane Isaac upon us, PetSmart Charities and PetSmart would like to give some tips to your readers and pet owners about how to keep pets safe in a disaster, because preparation is key.

Dr. Kemba Marshall, veterinarian and behavioral expert for PetSmart, suggests the following:
· Make sure your pets are safely contained: When severe weather warnings go into effect, crate or cage your animals. Also, have buckets on hand for fish and turtles – this is a safer alternative than aquariums.
· Make sure your pet has identification: This is the best way to make sure you are reunited with your pets if you are separated. According to the State Emergency Service, countless numbers of pets go missing after storms.
· Be aware of hazards at paw level: Debris, spilled chemicals, fertilizers and other substances might not seem hazardous to humans, but can be dangerous to pets.

PetSmart Charities suggests creating a pet disaster supply kit, including the following in an easy-to-carry, waterproof container:
Food, water and any medications (replace as often as needed to maintain freshness and avoid expiration dates)
Information on feeding schedules, medical conditions, behavioral problems and the contact information of your veterinarian in case you have to foster or board your pets.
Pet beds and toys (to reduce stress), if easily transportable.

Some other helpful tips include:
· Keep dogs securely leashed outside your home and in the car.
· Always transport cats in carriers.
· Don't leave pets unattended anywhere they might run off.
· Even the most trustworthy pets may panic, hide, try to escape, bite or scratch.
(Source: PetSmart Charities, American Red Cross and American Veterinary Medical Association - AVMA)

Please let me know if I can provide any more information. For a complete list of tips and to request emergency assistance, please visit: http://www.petsmartcharities.org/emergency-relief/articles/emergency-preparedness-for-pets.html

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FEMA URGES GULF COAST RESIDENTS TO TAKE STEPS TO PREPARE AS TROPICAL STORM ISAAC APPROACHES

Washington, DC- August 27, 2012- FEMA Release

At the direction of President Obama, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is coordinating the federal government's support and preparations in states potentially affected by Tropical Storm Isaac. Earlier today, the President was briefed by FEMA Administrator Fugate and National Hurricane Center Director Dr. Rick Knabb on preparations for the storm, and the expected track. Following the briefing, the President convened a call with Alabama Governor Robert Bentley, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant, and New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu. The President made clear that he has directed Administrator Fugate to make sure the Governors have the resources they need as the storm approaches, and asked each Governor to identify additional needs if they arise.

In advance of the storm, FEMA has placed four Incident Management Assistance Teams and liaisons on site at emergency operations centers in Gulf states and has moved two Mobile Emergency Response Support teams and additional commodities to pre-positioned locations closer to the potential impact areas. Other support teams have been identified and are ready to deploy as needed and requested.

Earlier this afternoon, President Obama signed a pre-disaster emergency declaration for the State of Louisiana due to Tropical Storm Isaac, making available federal support to save lives and to protect property and public health and safety in coastal parishes.

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate and other federal officials have had calls with governors and tribal and local leaders to discuss their preparations for the storm and to ensure they had no unmet needs.

At all times, FEMA maintains commodities including millions of liters of water, millions of meals and hundreds of thousands of blankets, strategically located at distribution centers throughout the United States and its territories, to support states if needed and requested. FEMA has distribution centers in Atlanta, Ga. and Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas, and in coordination with U.S. Northern Command, has prepositioned supplies in Jacksonville, Fla. and Montgomery, Ala., closer to potentially affected areas.

FEMA and its federal partners, through the FEMA National Response Coordination Center in Washington, D.C. and its FEMA Regional Response Coordination Centers in Atlanta, Ga., and Denton, Texas, will continue to monitor Tropical Storm Isaac and remain in close coordination with state, tribal and local officials in potentially affected areas to provide any support requested.

"States, tribal and local governments continue to provide direction to residents and individuals along the Gulf Coast. FEMA encourages individuals to follow the direction of these officials, and if told to evacuate, do so. Now is the time to check your family emergency plan, contact information and check your emergency supplies. Information is available on Ready.gov or Listo.gov," said FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate. "FEMA and its federal partners remain in close coordination with states and tribal governments across the Southeast, and has teams on the ground in each of the potentially affected states to provide support as needed, and additional teams are on alert to deploy, if requested."

Below is a timeline of some of the key activities and events that have occurred since Tropical Storm Isaac first threatened Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands on its path to the Gulf of Mexico:

Monday, August 27, 2012
· President Obama signed a pre-disaster emergency declaration for the State of Louisiana due to Tropical Storm Isaac, making available federal support to save lives and to protect property and public health and safety in coastal parishes. The emergency declaration for direct federal assistance for emergency protective measures covers the parishes of Ascension, Assumption, Jefferson, Lafourche, Livingston, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. Charles, St. James, St. John, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, Terrebonne, and Washington.

· The FEMA activated the National Response Coordination Center in Washington, D.C., a multi-agency coordination center that provides overall coordination of the federal response to natural disasters and emergencies, to support state requests for assistance from Gulf Coast and Southern states. FEMA Region IV and Region VI Response Coordination Centers (RRCC) located in Atlanta, Georgia and Denton, Texas remained activated to coordinate any requests for federal assistance, if requested by the potentially affected states.

· According to the 5:00 p.m. NOAA National Weather Service advisory, a Hurricane Warning is in effect for east of Morgan City, Louisiana to the Alabama-Florida border, including metropolitan New Orleans, Lake Pontchartrain and Lake Maurepas. A Hurricane Watch is in effect for Intracoastal City to Morgan City, Louisiana. A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect from the Alabama-Florida border to the Aucilla River; and for the Intracoastal City to Morgan City, Louisiana. A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for the east of Sabine Pass to west of Intracoastal City, Louisiana.

· FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate held a video-teleconference call to discuss the latest developments with the National Weather Service, partner agencies and regional representatives to assess their needs and readiness. The conference had the participation of emergency management leadership from potentially affected states including Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana.

· FEMA has Incident Management Assistance Teams (IMATs) and liaisons on site at the state emergency operations centers in Florida, Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi. Mobile Emergency Response Support (MERS) teams are also on the ground in Florida and Alabama to support the states with secure and non-secure voice, video, and information services, operations, and logistics support to state response operations, and with any potential requests for assistance.

• FEMA's Incident Support Bases (ISBs) in Jacksonville, Florida, and Montgomery Alabama, continue to proactively stage commodities closer to areas potentially affected by severe weather, allowing the federal government to quickly move supplies throughout nearby affected states, should they be needed and requested.

· "Hurricane Hunters" from the Air Force Reserve's 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron continue to do aerial reconnaissance on the storm and relay critical data to National Weather Service forecasters in Miami. Sophisticated onboard instruments and small canisters are dropped by parachute to the ocean's surface collect accurate measurements of the storm's location and intensity and feed the data continuously to the National Hurricane Center via an onboard satellite link. In addition, the aircraft sends automated messages every 10 minutes, relaying barometric pressure, wind speed and direction, and other measurements. The Hurricane Hunter aircraft are doing more than three missions a day, now that the storm is approaching 300 miles from the U.S. Coast.

· The U.S. Coast Guard advised Gulf Coast residents to move their vessels to protected areas where they will be less likely to break free of their moorings or to be otherwise damaged. Boats that can be placed on a trailer should be pulled from the water and stored in a place that is not prone to flooding. Those mariners who leave their boats in the water are reminded to secure life rings, life jackets, emergency position indicating radio beacons, and fenders. Also, if residents have hazardous materials on or near the water, residents are responsible for any spills that may occur. U.S. Coast Guard urges residents to take the necessary precautions to secure these materials prior to any foul weather.

· U.S. Northern Command has activated portions of their Region VI Defense Coordinating Officer (DCO), and Defense Coordinating Element (DCE) to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, to validate, plan and coordinate potential Department of Defense (DOD) support of FEMA's hurricane response operations and to facilitate DOD support of life-saving and response operations.

· FEMA's Private Sector Representative in the National Response Coordination Center (NRCC) in Washington, D.C. continues to engage National Business Emergency Operations Center (NBEOC) members; keeping them informed of federal efforts in support of Tropical Storm Isaac.

· FEMA Region IV held a private sector conference call to discuss current activities at the Regional Response Coordination Center (RRCC), and relayed updates from Gulf Coast state partners.

Sunday, August 26, 2012
· President Barack Obama was briefed by FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate and National Hurricane Center Director Dr. Rick Knabb on the projected track and timing of the storm as well as steps being taken by the Administration to support potentially impacted states.

· Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano spoke with New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu to discuss the city's preparations for the storm.

· FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate held a conference call to discuss the latest developments with the National Weather Service, partner agencies and regional representatives to assess their needs and readiness. The conference had the participation of emergency management leadership from potentially affected states including Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana.

· The FEMA National Watch Center in Washington, DC remained elevated to its 24/7 enhanced watch to proactively support any potential needs or requests for coastal states. FEMA Region IV and Region VI Response Coordination Centers (RRCC) located in Atlanta, Georgia and Denton, Texas remained activated to coordinate any requests for federal assistance, if requested by the potentially affected states.

· FEMA's Region IV Private Sector liaison deploys to the Florida Division for Emergency Management Operations Center to embed with Emergency Support Function for Business and Industry.

· FEMA Incident Management Assistance Teams (IMAT) and liaison officers are deployed to the Alabama and Mississippi emergency operations centers to coordinate with state and local officials to identify needs and shortfalls impacting disaster response.

· FEMA, in coordination with U.S. Northern Command established an Incident Support Base (ISB) in Montgomery, Alabama to proactively stage commodities closer to areas potentially affected by severe weather, allowing the federal government to quickly move supplies throughout nearby affected states, should they be needed and requested.

· FEMA Mobile Emergency Response Support (MERS) arrived at the Florida Division for Emergency Management Operations Center. MERS is a flexible response asset that provides self-sufficient, mobile communications, logistics, and operations capabilities required for the on-scene.

· Three FEMA Mobile Communications Office Vehicles (MCOVs) arrived at the Incident Support Base (ISB) in Jacksonville, Florida. MCOVs are multi-purpose central office facilities that are activated to support FEMA and on-scene emergency management personnel.

· FEMA Incident Management Team (IMAT) and a pre-designated Federal Coordinating Officer is present at the Louisiana State Emergency Management Agency Emergency Operations Center in Baton Rouge to coordinate with state and local officials and to identify needs and shortfalls impacting disaster response.

· The NOAA National Weather Service issued several severe weather watches and warnings for coastal areas due to Tropical Storm Isaac. According to the 11:00 a.m. National Weather Service advisory, a Hurricane Warning is in effect for the Florida Keys including the Dry Tortugas, the west coast of Florida from Bonita Beach southward to Ocean Reef and the Florida Bay. A Hurricane Watch is in effect for east of Morgan City, Louisiana to Indian Pass Florida including Metropolitan New Orleans and Lake Pontchartrain. A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for the Florida east coast from Sebastian Inlet southward to Ocean Reef; the Florida west coast and the Florida Panhandle from north of Bonita Beach, FL to Indian Pass, FL including Tampa Bay; and Lake Okeechobee. A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for the Florida east coast north of Sebastian Inlet to Flagler Beach. As of 11 am, tropical storm conditions are occurring in the Tropical Storm Warning area along the Florida East Coast; tropical storm conditions are expected to spread northward along the west coast of Florida and into the eastern Florida Panhandle tonight and Monday. Hurricane conditions are possible in the Hurricane Watch area along the North Coast on Tuesday, with tropical storm conditions possible by Monday night.

· The U.S. Coast Guard sets port condition Zulu to the Port of Miami, Port Everglades and Port of Palm Beach in anticipation of Tropical Storm Isaac. The ports will remain closed to all incoming and outgoing vessel traffic until directed by the Captain of the Port. The U.S. Coast Guard also sets port condition Yankee for the ports of Tampa, St. Petersburg and Manatee to all inbound commercial vessel traffic due to the approach of Tropical Storm Isaac. The U.S. Coast Guard urges owners of larger boats to move their boats to inland marinas where they will be less vulnerable to breaking free of their moorings or damage. Smaller boats should be pulled from the water and stored in a place that is not prone to flooding. Those who are leaving their boats in the water are reminded to secure life rings, life jackets and small boats.

· The American Red Cross has opened more than a dozens of shelters in Florida, and moving hundreds of trained disaster workers into the state. To find an open shelter, please visit http://www.redcross.org/find-help/shelter

Saturday, August 25, 2012
· FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate held a conference call to discuss the latest developments with the National Weather Service, partner agencies and regional representatives to assess their needs and readiness. The conference had the participation of emergency management leadership from potentially affected states including Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana.

· FEMA Region IV Incident Management Assistance Team arrives to the Florida Emergency Operations Center to coordinate with state and local officials to identify needs and shortfalls impacting disaster response. The FEMA Region IV Response Coordination Center (RRCC) located in Atlanta, Georgia continued to be activated to Level III and a FEMA liaison remains in the Florida State Emergency Operation Center to coordinate with state and local officials to identify needs and shortfalls impacting disaster response.

· FEMA Region VI Response Coordination Center (RRCC) was activated to a Level III (partial activation) to monitor the storm and proactively support any potential needs or requests from Louisiana or Texas and deployed the Regional Incident Management Assistance Team to the State of Louisiana Governor's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP).

· The NOAA National Weather Service issued several severe weather watches and warnings for coastal areas in Florida. A Hurricane Warning is in effect for the Florida Keys (including the Dry Tortugas), the west coast of Florida from Bonita Beach southward to Ocean Reef, and for Florida Bay. A Hurricane Watch also is in effect for the Florida east coast from Golden Beach southward to Ocean Reef. A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for the Florida east coast from Sebastian Inlet southward to Ocean Reef, and for Lake Okeechobee. A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for the Florida east coast north of Sebastian Inlet to Flagler Beach, and for the Florida West Coast north of Bonita Beach to Tarpon Springs.

· U.S. National Park Service announced the closure of Big Cypress National Preserve in Ochopee, Florida beginning at 12:00 noon Eastern. These closures are conducted in the interest of public safety, and to ensure park staff concentrates completely on securing and protecting park resources and facilities.

· U.S. Department of Agriculture advised coastal residents in states who have livestock and pets that might be affected by Tropical Storm Isaac. USDA offered tips to help residents protect the health of these animals in the event of power outages, flooding and other issues that can be associated with strong storms.

Friday, August 24, 2012
· FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate held a video teleconference call to discuss the latest developments with the National Weather Service, partner agencies and regional representatives to assess their needs and readiness. The conference had the participation of emergency management leadership from potentially affected states including Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana.

· The FEMA Region IV Response Coordination Center located in Atlanta, Georgia is activated to Level III and maintains a FEMA liaison deployed to the Florida Division of Emergency Management to coordinate with state and local officials to identify needs and shortfalls impacting disaster response.

· FEMA, in coordination with U.S. Northern Command, established an Incident Support Base (ISB) in Jacksonville, Florida to proactively stage commodities closer to areas potentially affected by severe weather, allowing the federal government to quickly move supplies throughout nearby affected states, should they be needed and requested. U.S. Northern Command also deployed the Region IV Defense Coordinating Officer and support staff elements to Florida in support of preparations.

· The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends coastal residents include food safety as part of your preparedness plan. Power outages and flooding that often result from weather emergencies compromise the safety of stored food, and planning ahead can minimize the risk of food borne illness. USDA food safety tips include having a cooler on hand to keep refrigerator food cold in case of power outage, and to group food together in the freezer; this helps the food stay cold longer. Additional food safety preparedness tips can be found at USDA's Food Safety Inspection Service's website www.fsis.usda.gov .

· The NOAA National Weather Service issued tropical storm watches for the Florida Keys including the Dry Tortugas, the Florida East Coast south of Jupiter Inlet, the Florida West Coast south of Bonita Beach, Florida Bay and Lake Okeechobee.

· FEMA, NOAA and the American Red Cross hosted a conference call with staff members of the Congressional delegation from Florida, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana, to provide updates on the storm forecast, federal preparations underway and sheltering and response efforts being undertaken by the American Red Cross and volunteers.

· The American Red Cross is preparing to open dozens of shelters across Florida, and moving hundreds of trained disaster workers into the state. There are 22 Red Cross emergency response vehicles already in Florida and 28 more are moving into the state in advance of the storm with an additional 78 on stand-by if needed. The Red Cross is mobilizing five truckloads of disaster supplies to send to Florida and Red Cross disaster warehouses in Georgia and Mississippi are ready to ship emergency supplies if necessary.

· U.S. National Park Service announced the Biscayne National Park closes in Preparation for Tropical Storm Isaac. The temporary shutdown is conducted in accordance with its Hurricane Plan and in the interest of public safety, and to ensure park staff concentrates completely on securing and protecting park resources and facilities.

· U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) in preparation for Tropical Storm Isaac urged federal firearms licensees and federal explosives licensees and permittees to be prepared and protect their merchandise and facilities.

Thursday, August 23, 2012
· FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate held a video teleconference call to discuss the latest developments with the National Weather Service, partner agencies and regional representatives to assess their needs and readiness. The conference had the participation of emergency management leadership from potentially affected states including Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana.

· The FEMA National Business Emergency Operations Center (NBEOC) conducted a conference call with nearly 100 private sector members. The NBEOC is intended to provide the private sector with enhanced information-sharing capabilities during disaster response and recovery.

· The U.S. Coast Guard captain of the port set hurricane condition Whiskey for the Port of Key West, Fla. A heightened condition in which hurricane force winds are possible within 72 hours. All commercial vessels and barges greater than 500 gross tons and all tank barges greater than 200 gross tons desiring to remain in port must arrange safe mooring. They shall also complete an application and submit it in writing within 24 hours to the Coast Guard Captain of the Port to remain in port. Commercial vessels and barges greater than 500 gross tons and tank barges greater than 200 gross tons departing the port must depart no later than 24 hours prior to the arrival of gale force winds.

· The FEMA National Watch Center in Washington, D.C. continued an elevated to a 24/7 enhanced watch to proactively support any potential needs or requests from Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands or Florida.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012
· FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate held a video teleconference call to discuss the latest developments with the National Weather Service, partner agencies and regional representatives to assess their needs and readiness. Puerto Rico Emergency Management Agency, Virgin Islands Territorial Emergency Management Agency and Florida Division of Emergency Management participated on the call.

· The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) deployed a Regional Emergency Coordinator to the Puerto Rico. HHS was monitoring the storm and was prepared to deploy federal public health and medical resources if requested by the commonwealth or by the state of Florida.

· FEMA, through its Regional Office in Atlanta, Ga. and Caribbean Area Division, had been monitoring Tropical Storm Isaac in the eastern Caribbean Sea, and had been in close coordination with Puerto Rico Emergency Management Agency (PREMA), Virgin Islands Territorial Emergency Management Agency (VITEMA) and the Florida Emergency Management Agency.

• FEMA Region IV Liaison deployed to the Florida Division of Emergency Management to coordinate with state and local officials to identify needs and shortfalls potentially impacting disaster response.

· FEMA Region II RRCC remained activated with the presence of Emergency Support Functions from Department of Transportation, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Federal Emergency Management Agency Logistics and Resources, U.S. Health and Human Services, Mass Care and U.S. Department of Energy.

· The FEMA National Watch Center in Washington, D.C. was elevated to a 24/7 enhanced watch to proactively support any potential needs or requests from Puerto Rico, or the U.S. Virgin Islands.

· FEMA's Caribbean Area Division activated Emergency Support Functions to critical help identify potential needs and gaps in the areas of transportation, public works and engineering, mass care, logistics and resources, public health and medical services and energy.

· FEMA continued to maintain ongoing contact with Congressional delegations that could have constituents who reside within potentially-impacted storm zone impact areas of Tropical Storm/Hurricane Isaac's projected path.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012
· FEMA, through its Caribbean Area Division, is monitoring Tropical Depression #9/Tropical Storm Isaac in the central Atlantic Ocean as it moves towards the eastern Caribbean Sea, and has been in close coordination with Puerto Rico Emergency Management Agency (PREMA) and Virgin Islands Territorial Emergency Management Agency (VITEMA).

· The Regional Response Coordination Center (RRCC) that supports Caribbean activities remained activated, to proactively support any potential needs or requests from Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

· In advance of the storm, FEMA proactively deployed Incident Management Assistance Teams to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands to coordinate with commonwealth/territory and local officials, should additional support be requested, or needed. Additionally, FEMA had liaisons in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands emergency operations centers, to further strengthen coordination. These assets supplement federal resources and personnel that are staged, year-round, at FEMA's Caribbean Area Office and Caribbean Area Distribution Center located in Puerto Rico.

· American Red Cross liaisons coordinated with Region II Regional Response Coordination Center, Puerto Rico Emergency Management Agency and Virgin Island Territorial Emergency Management Agency RCC, PREMA, and VITEMA. Call downs of its volunteers and the preparation of shelter teams for the USVI were conducted. Region II is coordinating with government and non-profit partners to support shelter operations, including feeding and logistics.

· NOAA National Weather Service issued a public advisory to indicate that a Hurricane Watch and a Tropical Storm Warning are in effect for Puerto Rico, Vieques, Culebra and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Monday, August 20, 2012
· FEMA Region II's Regional Response Coordination Center (RRCC) activated to a Level III (Partial Activation) to support Caribbean activities, to proactively support any potential needs or requests from Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Emergency Support Functions in the areas of Transportation, Public Works and Engineering, Mass Care, Logistics and Resources, Public Health and Medical Services and Energy are represented in support of Tropical Storm Isaac.

Sunday, August 19, 2012
· FEMA Region II activated and started deploying a contingent of the Region II Incident Management Assistance Team to Puerto Rico in anticipation of events related to Tropical Depression 9/Tropical Storm Isaac. IMAT members help with coordination, should emergency response assistance be needed.

· U.S. Northern Command deployed Region II Defense Coordinating Officer (DCO), Defense Coordinating Element (DCE) and service Emergency Preparedness Liaison Officers (EPLO's), compromised of specially trained experts to assist in disaster response, to the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico to assist FEMA in assessing if DOD's unique capabilities will be required.

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FEMA's mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.

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PROGRESS ENERGY DOESN'T SEE WIDESPREAD OUTAGES...YET

St. Petersburg, Florida- August 27, 2012- Progress Energy Release

Tropical Storm Isaac brought gusting wind and heavy rain to the Gulf Coast of Florida, but didn’t cause widespread power outages to Progress Energy Florida customers.

As of 11 a.m. Monday, fewer than 1,000 customers in Progress Energy’s 35-county service territory were without power. More than 15,000 customers have been restored following repeated waves of heavy rain and high winds in the region. Tropical Storm Isaac’s track to the northwest and further into the Gulf of Mexico has helped to mitigate damage in Progress Energy Florida’s territory.

“Forecasts show the outer bands of Tropical Storm Isaac will continue to bring rain and wind to the Tampa Bay area today and up through the Panhandle into Wednesday,” said Jason Cutliffe, storm director for Progress Energy Florida. “While heavy rainfall and storm surge can cause flooding in low-lying areas, the brunt of the impact will not be seen in Florida. We are releasing hundreds of line workers and tree contractors who came to Florida over the weekend to help ensure adequate resources where it appears Isaac will make landfall.”

About 250 off-system crews secured through the Southeastern Electric Exchange (SEE) will remain in Franklin and Pinellas counties to handle any remaining bands of unstable weather as well as any needs related to the Republican National Convention under way in the Tampa Bay area. Progress Energy Florida is a member of the SEE, a network of utilities that assist each other during storms or other emergencies.

The utility’s storm planning and deployment was also enhanced by Progress Energy’s recent merger with Duke Energy. The combined company’s size and strength increases Progress Energy Florida’s ability to plan for and respond to storms quickly and efficiently.

While the worst of the storm is skirting Progress Energy Florida’s territory, outages may still occur. The quickest way to report an outage is to call the company's automated outage-reporting system at 800-228-8485. Customers may also report outages using computers and compatible mobile devices at progress-energy.com/storm.

During the storm, Progress Energy Florida’s online outage map is updated several times a day to show outages and estimated restoration times. The outage map can be viewed at www.progress-energy.com/outagemap.

The utility also sends updates on storm-related outage restorations via Twitter and Facebook. Customers can follow the utility at www.twitter.com/ProgEnergyFL and www.facebook.com/ProgressEnergyFlorida.

For additional storm information, visit www.progress-energy.com/storm.

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Progress Energy Florida

Progress Energy Florida, a subsidiary of Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK), provides electricity and related services to more than 1.6 million customers in Florida. The company is headquartered in St. Petersburg, Fla., and serves a territory encompassing more than 20,000 square miles including the cities of St. Petersburg and Clearwater, as well as the Central Florida area surrounding Orlando. Progress Energy Florida is pursuing a balanced approach to meeting the future energy needs of the region. That balance includes increased energy-efficiency programs, investments in renewable energy technologies and a state-of-the-art electricity system. More information is available at www.progress-energy.com.

Headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., Duke Energy is a Fortune 250 company traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol DUK. More information about the company is available at: www.duke-energy.com.

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STATE FARM® URGES HOMEOWNERS TO PLAN, PREPARE, PROTECT

Aug. 27, 2012- State Farm Release

State Farm is preparing for possible landfall of Isaac. To provide the best possible service and response to customers in the panhandle area of Florida who may be impacted by the storm, the following are in place:

Claims adjusters and all necessary State Farm support members are prepared and ready to mobilize to the affected areas as needed.

The 1-800-SFCLAIM line is activated and available for customers to begin the claim reporting process. Customers also are encouraged to reach out to their local State Farm agent.

General information to assist the public in their preparation and recovery is available at statefarm.com: Natural Disasters and Catastrophes.

Specific information - including auto claim guidelines should there be extensive flooding - about reporting damage is available at statefarm.com: Reporting Your Damage

Families should keep in mind the 3 Ps during hurricane season: plan, prepare and protect.

PLAN
• It’s always important for a family to have a plan for emergencies. It is also important to have a clear understanding what your policy covers and be prepared for what deductibles and exclusions your policy includes – it’s always a good idea to chat with your insurance agent.
• When a hurricane threatens, decide if your family will move to a safer place inland, go to a designated shelter or ride out the storm in your home.
• Make sure you stay in touch with local authorities to know the severity of the hurricane. You should also plan an escape route in case your family needs to evacuate.

PREPARE
• Your home should have a survival kit prepared for any emergency. It should include:
o non-perishable food items
o first aid kit
o battery-operated radio
o a flashlight
o fresh batteries
o fresh drinking water.
• Also include other items you might need such as medication, prescription glasses and your insurance information including your home inventory (keep in a water proof bag).
• To ensure your home is prepared, cover up windows and doors using hurricane shutters. If you don't have shutters, cover up your windows and doors with 3/4-inch plywood. Make sure your garage door is closed and anchored. Remember that serious hurricane damage can occur when wind and debris get into your house through a broken door or window.

PROTECT
If you decide to ride out the hurricane, protect yourself. If you don't need to evacuate the area, stay indoors away from windows or glass doors. Put as many walls between you and the storm as possible. If you don't have a basement, go to a closet or a bathroom. If you need to leave the area, make sure you go directly to the shelter. A purchase of tarps or plastic sheeting may be advantageous. Take your survival kit and lock all doors and windows before you go. Let your relatives or friends know where you plan to be and give them your insurance agent's information.
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FLORIDA HOMEOWNERS SHOULD STAY AWARE OF RISKS

August 27, 2012- The Hartford Steam Boiler Inspection and Insurance Company (HSB) Release

With effects of Hurricane Isaac underway, including power outages and electrical service interruptions, Florida homeowners face many risks and exposures.

To mitigate risks for homeowners in the aftermath of the storm, The Hartford Steam Boiler Inspection and Insurance Company (HSB), part of Munich Re, has created a list of measures that can help protect home equipment and avoid dangers if/when a power outage occurs:

* Unplug computers, home entertainment systems and non-essential equipment and appliances. This helps prevent surge damage when electrical power is restored.

* Operate portable generators only through a properly installed transfer switch or plug appliances directly into the generator using a properly rated extension cord.

* Do not connect a generator to a home’s electrical system which can feed power onto exterior power lines and cause an electrocution risk to utility employees

* Do not run portable generator in enclosed spaces such as a garage to avoid the danger of carbon monoxide.

* Limit opening refrigerator and freezer doors. Food will keep longer if doors remain closed. If the power is out longer than two hours, throw away food that has a temperature higher than 40°F.

* Do not use charcoal or gas grills or camp stoves for cooking in enclosed areas.

* Stay away from downed power lines. Always assume the lines are “live.” Call 911 to report any downed lines.

* Homeowners with automatic garage door openers should check the manufacturer’s instructions to learn how to open the door manually.

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DCF OFFERS TIPS TO PARENTS TO KEEP CHILDREN CALM DURING HURRICANES, OTHER DISASTERS

August 27, 2012- Tallahassee, Florida
With winds and rain from Tropical Storm Isaac covering most of Florida this week, the Department of Children and Families wants to offer tips to parents on how to talk to their children about hurricanes and other disasters.

“It’s very important that parents and caregivers are able to help children in any way during times of distress,” Secretary David Wilkins said. “Children can be confused and scared about how they will be affected by a disaster.”

Here are some tips to help you talk to your children:
• Encourage children to ask questions and talk about their feelings.
• Respond calmly and explain the facts to the best of your ability.
• Have a plan and share it with your children so they know to expect to go to their grandparent’s house or another location in the event of a hurricane.
• Make sure you have an arrangement for any pets and that your child knows their pet will be safe.
• Tell the child only what they need to know, but do not give details that will needlessly scare them.
• Pay attention to how much media coverage your child is allowed to see. They may not need to see all of the devastation from a major disaster.
• Make sure your child knows who to call in case of a disaster if the parents are not available.
• Help your child set up an emergency kit, with food, water, medical needs and more. Make sure to keep the kit updated and make it a fun activity with your child. Include a flashlight for your child and books, puzzles and games to keep them occupied.

To prepare your family for a hurricane, please go to the state of Florida’s “Get a Plan” site at www.floridadisaster.org. For information about food safety during a hurricane or other disaster, please download “A Consumer’s Guide to Food Safety: Severe Storms and Hurricanes” at www.fsis.usda.gov/PDF/Severe_Storms_and_Hurricanes_Guide.pdf

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HURRICANE ISAAC OFFERS REMINDER TO PROPERLY PREPARE HOME

August 27, 2012 - 11:44 am- Release from Briggs and Stratton Portable Power

As Hurricane Isaac blows toward southern Florida, there are several steps that can be taken beforehand so families stay safe and comfortable in the hours and days after the hurricane passes.

Keeping the power on can mean the difference between comfort and chaos after a storm. A portable generator is a popular short-term solution to power essential home appliances after a power outage. According to Eric Loferski of Briggs & Stratton Portable Power, there are a few safety measures that families need to follow when operating a portable generator:

• Have a working CO detector

• Only use portable generators outdoors, not in any enclosed areas

• Keep them away from windows, doors and overhangs

• Always read the manufacturer’s operating and maintenance instructions before use

• Never add gasoline to a hot or running portable generator

In addition to preparing a household to safely restore power after a hurricane, the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Ready Campaign, of which Briggs & Stratton is a coalition member, offers a host of ways families can prepare their home for a hurricane. The Ready Campaign advises:

• Cover all of the home's windows with pre-cut ply wood or hurricane shutters to protect windows from high winds

• Plan to bring in all outdoor furniture, decorations, garbage cans and anything else that is not tied down

• Keep all trees and shrubs well-trimmed to reduce the risk of wind damage

• Further secure the home by closing shutters

Following Isaac, many families may be inspired to take additional steps to prepare for the next storm. One option is to install an automatic standby generator system. Standby generators keep the power on when a home’s primary power source goes out, allowing homeowners to run appliances like air conditioners, heaters, refrigerators, clothes washers/dryers, and lights. It can also provide the power you need to stay connected with cellphones, computers and radios. That means there is less of a need for things like non-perishable foods or flashlights in the event of a power outage.

“An automatic standby generator is the most convenient way to keep your family safe and comfortable when a hurricane knocks out the power,” said Amanda Grandy of Briggs & Stratton Standby Power. “It keeps the home powered so the family can maintain a sense of normalcy as they cleanup after the hurricane occurs.”

Visit www.ready.gov for more tips on keeping your family safe during a hurricane.

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About Briggs & Stratton Corporation

Briggs & Stratton Corporation, headquartered in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, is the world’s largest producer of gasoline engines for outdoor power equipment. Its wholly owned subsidiary Briggs & Stratton Power Products Group LLC is North America’s number one manufacturer of portable generators and pressure washers, and is a leading designer, manufacturer and marketer of home standby generators, along with lawn and garden and turf care through its Simplicity®, Snapper®, Ferris® and Murray® brands. Briggs & Stratton products are designed, manufactured, marketed and serviced in over 100 countries on six continents. For more information, visit: www.briggsandstratton.com.

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GOVERNOR SCOTT REMINDS FLORIDIANS TO STAY ALERT, POTENTIAL HAZARDS STILL EXIST

August 26, 2012- Press Release Governor's Office

As Tropical Storm Isaac moves past the Florida Keys and into the Gulf of Mexico, Governor Rick Scott encourages residents and visitors statewide to stay vigilant as the storm is forecast to strengthen into a hurricane. The Florida panhandle remains in the cone of potential impact.

“There continues to be a lot of uncertainty about this storm. We don’t know how much Isaac may slow down or intensify as it heads into the gulf,” said Governor Scott. “Now is the time to prepare.”

Local emergency officials in South Florida and the Keys are reporting only minor flooding and power outages, but these damage assessments are still early. This week, officials will begin getting a better look and those initial damage assessments may change.

Governor Scott and Florida Division of Emergency Management Director Bryan W. Koon continue to coordinate with local, state and federal partners to share information and offer assistance when requested.

“The path of Tropical Storm Isaac shifted to the west today,” said Koon. “The panhandle forecast calls for several inches of rain. Unfortunately, much of Florida remains saturated from earlier storms, posing a risk of flooding in impacted areas.”

Governor Scott signed Executive Order 12-199, to declare a statewide state of emergency on Saturday, August 25. The Executive Order designates Bryan W. Koon as the State Coordinating Officer. The Executive Order directs all state agencies, including the Florida National Guard, to provide any necessary assistance when requested by local governments. The State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) is operating at a Level One, full activation.

The State Emergency Response Team stands ready to support requests for assistance from local officials. Representatives from the Federal Emergency Management Agency are working closely with Florida’s emergency managers to ensure a seamless response operation in the impacted and forecast areas.

It is imperative that Florida’s residents, businesses and visitors take the time to be prepared for the impact of Tropical Storm Isaac in the watch and warning areas. Ensure that you and your family have an emergency plan, including your local evacuation route, where you will go if you need to evacuate, a meeting place in case you are separated, contact information and important paperwork and nearby shelter information.

Also be sure your disaster supply kit is stocked and up to date with 72 hours worth of supplies to sustain yourself and your family members. This includes water, food, medication, personal care items, a weather radio, flashlight and batteries. Also be sure to fill up your tanks with gas and get cash in case ATMs are unavailable due to power loss. More tips and information are available at www.FloridaDisaster.org.

Weather Update:

At 5 pm EDT Sunday, Tropical Storm Isaac was approximately 40 miles southwest of Key West, Florida. Isaac has decreased forward speed slightly, now moving west-northwest around 16 mph. A gradual turn toward the northwest with a decrease in forward speed is expected through the next two days, followed by a turn to the north-northwest on Tuesday. Maximum sustained winds are near 60 mph and gradual strengthening is expected to occur as it moves into the eastern Gulf of Mexico. Isaac is expected to be a hurricane within the next 24-48 hours.

Isaac remains a large storm, and tropical storm force winds extend as far as 205 miles from the center. The official National Hurricane Center forecast has shifted west, taking Tropical Storm Isaac away from the Florida Keys tonight, then on a course towards the Louisiana/Mississippi border. Confidence in the track of Isaac beyond Monday is still highly uncertain.

Hurricane Watch: Florida Gulf Coast east of Destin to Indian Pass

Hurricane Warning: Morgan City, Louisiana to Destin, Florida. This includes the counties of Escambia, Santa Rosa and Okaloosa.

Tropical Storm Warning: Florida Keys, including the Dry Tortugas and Florida Bay; Lake Okeechobee; Florida peninsula from Sebastian Inlet southward on the East Coast and from Tarpon Springs southward on the West Coast; Florida panhandle coast east of Destin to the Suwannee River.

Florida Summary:

· Shelters are open in 14 counties, including 10 special needs shelters and 28 general population shelters. Visit http://floridadisaster.org/shelters/summary.htm for details.

· Schools will be closed in 25 counties tomorrow.

· Seaports closed: Crystal River, Everglades, Fort Pierce, Key West, Manatee, Miami River, Miami, Palm Beach, St. Petersburg, Tampa

· Airport closures: Pensacola, Marathon, Key West

· Bridge closures: Miami-Dade bridges locked down

· DOT tolls suspended: Alligator Alley Eastbound

· State building closures: Lee County- Ft. Myers Regional Service Center, Dade County- Opa Locka, FDLE Miami and Rhode buildings, Broward County- North Broward Regional Service Center and Gore building, Hillsborough County- Trammel and Hargrett buildings

Recommended Public Safety Actions:

· Residents and visitors should heed all instructions from local officials and stay tuned to local media for the latest on Tropical Storm Isaac.

· Follow beach warning flags. If you go to the beach, pay attention to the warning flags and do not swim if beaches are closed.

· Watch for dangerous rip currents. Tropical storms, including Isaac, increase the risk of dangerous rip currents.

· Turn Around, Don’t Drown. If you see a flooded roadway, turn around and take another route. Take your time when travelling.

· Avoid standing water. Avoid contact with flood waters, especially if you have open cuts. Do not allow children to play in floodwater.

· Wash your hands. Stay as clean as possible by washing your hands with soap and water that has been boiled or disinfected.

· Avoid downed power lines. If you see a downed power line, assume it is live and contact the utility.

Operate equipment only in safe conditions and if experienced in proper use.
Be alert to wildlife that may have been displaced as a result of flooding.
Do not eat any food that may have come into contact with contaminated water from floods or tidal surges.
· Drain standing water to prevent mosquito-borne illness from garbage cans, buckets, pool covers, coolers, toys, flowerpots or any other containers where sprinkler or rainwater has collected.

· Cover your skin with clothing and insect repellent.

· If you encounter tar or oiled debris on the beach, do not pick it up. Report it to the State Watch Office at 850-413-9900.

Resources:

· Florida Division of Emergency Management –

o www.FloridaDisaster.org

o www.Twitter.com/flsert

o www.Facebook.com/FloridaSERT

· Florida Department of Health – www.doh.state.fl.us

· Road and Bridge Closures – www.fl511.com/

· Shelter Status – floridadisaster.org/shelters/summary.htm

· County Emergency Management Agencies – http://www.floridadisaster.org/County_EM/county_list.htm

For more information on preparation for and response to Tropical Storm Isaac, call the Florida Emergency Information Line at 1-800-342-3557. Hearing-impaired persons may call the Florida Telecommunications Relay at 1-800-226-4329 to receive information and access TDD systems. For local details, contact your county emergency management agency.

The Atlantic Hurricane Season runs from June 1 – November 30. To GET A PLAN! visit www.FloridaDisaster.org. For the latest information on the 2012 Hurricane Season, follow us on Twitter at www.Twitter.com/flsert and on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/FloridaSERT.

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WAKULLA COUNTY OFFICIALS KEEP CLOSE EYE ON ISAAC

August 26, 2012 - Press Release Wakulla County

The Wakulla County Sheriff's Office Division of Emergency Management has been meeting with state and county partners in an effort to plan for the potential arrival of Tropical Storm Isaac.

Despite recent computer models indicating a move to the west, Emergency Management is still concerned about potentially damaging storm surge associated with Isaac.

With this in mind, Wakulla County schools will be open for a half day on Monday, Aug. 27 to allow the opening of the Crawfordville Elementary School as a disaster shelter. County offices will be open for business.

An evacuation order for residents living south of U.S. Highway 98 and U.S. Highway 319 is being considered, but a final decision of the mandatory evacuation will not be made until Monday.

The Crawfordville Elementary School shelter will be opening at 2 p.m. for anyone needing a place to stay while away from home.

WCSO inmates have been filling sand bags throughout the day. The sand bags are available at the sheriff's office. They are located between the sheriff's office parking lot and the animal shelter. Equipment such as chainsaws, barricades and signs are ready for deployment if needed and work assignments have been prepared if the storm creates damage.

Additional storm planning information will be released on Monday. Coastal residents will be notified about leaving the coast and door to door notifications are planned as well. Residents should continue to monitor the progress of the storm.
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DCF ENCOURAGES FLORIDIANS TO SIGN UP FOR EMERGENCY FOOD ASSISTANCE ALERTS

Tallahassee, Florida August 26, 2012 - Department of Children and Families Press Release

With most of Florida under severe weather warnings resulting from Tropical Storm Isaac, the Department of Children and Families is ready to provide food assistance to those in need after the storm passes. Floridians are encouraged to sign up for DCF’s text and email alerts at www.myflfamilies.com in order to receive instant notification of emergency food services available in their areas.

“Individuals and families who sign up for these alerts will be the first to know if their area will receive emergency food assistance,” Secretary David Wilkins said. “This new technology is just one of the many innovative ways our department is reaching out to communities across the state to assist them in their time of need.”

The Department of Children and Families’ “Food for Florida” disaster relief program provides emergency food assistance to families in need after a hurricane or another disaster under federal guidance from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service. Florida distributed $270 million in emergency aid to more than 2 million people after Hurricane Wilma in 2005.

In addition, families and individuals who are current food assistance clients may receive replacement of benefits for the value of the food lost because of damage to their home or sustained electrical outages. To report food loss or to request replacement benefits, customers can obtain the Food Assistance Replacement Authorization Form at www.dcf.state.fl.us/DCFForms/Search/OpenDCFForm.aspx?FormId=597. Customers can submit the form via fax at 866-886-4342 or by mailing it to: ACCESS Central Mail Center, PO Box 1, Wildwood, FL 34785.

To sign up for emergency food assistance alerts, go to www.myflfamilies.com and enter your email address in the center box below the banner. Please choose “Food for Florida Disaster Assistance” under the ACCESS Florida box to receive alerts specifically about disaster assistance. After signing up, you can go to the “Subscriber Preferences” page and enter a phone number for text alerts as well.

To prepare your family for a hurricane, please go to the state of Florida’s “Get a Plan” site at www.floridadisaster.org. For more information about food safety, please download “A Consumer’s Guide to Food Safety: Severe Storms and Hurricanes” at www.fsis.usda.gov/PDF/Severe_Storms_and_Hurricanes_Guide.pdf

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EMERGENCY OFFICIALS ENCOURAGE AWARENESS AS ISAAC APPROACHES

Tallahassee, Florida- August 26, 2012 - Governor Scott Press Release

As Tropical Storm Isaac approaches Florida, Governor Scott and Emergency Management Officials encourage all Floridians to stay informed and finalize emergency preparations. Several tools exist where the public can find information on warnings and watches, available shelters, and other general questions.

The Florida Division of Emergency Management website, www.FloridaDisaster.org, provides the most current official information from the State Emergency Response Team about response and recovery efforts during and after a disaster. The Division also provides updates via social media on Facebook, at www.facebook.com/FloridaSERT, and Twitter by following @FLSERT.

Launched in 2009, Florida Evacuates is a mobile application and website that provides local evacuation information for shelters and lodging. Users enter their location in the search field and a list of open shelters from the American Red Cross, as well as area accommodations provided by VISIT FLORIDA, are populated at the bottom. Visit www.FloridaEvacuates.com for information.

Individuals with questions or concerns can call the Florida Emergency Information Line at hotline for residents to obtain accurate, up-to-date information about Isaac. The FEIL will be available from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. The toll-free number is 1-800-342-3557. Hearing-impaired persons may call the Florida Telecommunications Relay at 1-800-226-4329 to receive information and access TDD systems.

The American Red Cross recently launched a Hurricane Mobile App that provides local and real time information for individuals in affected areas. Users can monitor personalized weather alerts in locations where family and friends reside and share information with others in their social networks who might also need it. The Red Cross Hurricane mobile app can be found in the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store.
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RED CROSS PREPARES FOR ISAAC RESPONSE

August 26, 2012

The Red Cross is preparing to respond across Florida as Issac brings the potential for wind and serious flooding across a wide area.

The Red Cross is:

· Preparing to open dozens of shelters across Florida if needed.

· Deploying or has put on alert half of the nationwide Red Cross fleet of emergency vehicles to respond.

· Deploying more than 1,000 disaster workers to the state.

· Mobilizing truckloads of disaster supplies and clean-up kits.

· Pre-stocking 30,000 ready-to-eat meals and two mobile feeding kitchens

Locally, we are working with emergency management officials in our eight counties on shelter locations if needed, standing up our chapter Emergency Operations Center, assigning disaster function jobs to volunteers, and readying our material resources.

We ask that local residents have a disaster plan, build a disaster kit and stay informed on shelter openings and other key information. Flooding is expected in the area. People should be prepared to evacuate and avoid floodwaters and flooded roads.

People who want to volunteer during this disaster should call 850-878-6080.

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FLORIDA HIGHWAY PATROL URGES DRIVER SAFETY AS TROPICAL STORM NEARS

Tallahassee, Florida- August 25, 2012

The Florida Highway Patrol advises motorist to be cautious as Tropical Storm Isaac moves toward Florida. Motorists are advised to monitor the progress of Isaac and listen for any bulletins from county emergency management centers.

The Florida Highway Patrol urges drivers to follow safety tips that can save lives:

Stay put. – Avoid driving in heavy storms, and stay in a safe place after the storm. Be prepared to remain where you are for an extended period. Often, injuries and deaths occur in the aftermath of storms. Sightseers impeding roadways cause obstacles for emergency personnel responding to those in need.

Slow down. – Roadways remain slick after storm so if you have to drive, decrease your speed to avoid hydroplaning.

Be cautious of high winds. – Windy conditions adversely affect all vehicles, particularly high profile vehicles, such as buses and trucks, as well as motorcycles. Gusty wind makes driving difficult, especially when it is rapidly changing speed and direction.

Pay attention. – You may come up on an intersection that is no longer controlled by a traffic control device. If a law enforcement officer is directing traffic, follow his directions. Otherwise, treat the intersection as you would treat an intersection governed by a four-way Stop sign.

For real-time traffic and road condition reports, as well as maps and additional safety tips, FHP encourages motorists to visit www.flhsmv.gov/fhp/. Florida drivers also can call 511 on their cell phone or visit http://fl511.com/ for up-to-the-minute updates on traffic congestion, road construction, lane closures, severe weather and travel delays on interstates and major highways.

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The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles provides highway safety and security through excellence in service, education and enforcement. The Department is leading the way to a safer Florida through the efficient and professional execution of its core mission: the issuance of driver licenses, vehicle tags and titles and operation of the Florida Highway Patrol. To learn more about DHSMV and the services offered, visit www.flhsmv.gov or follow us on Twitter @FDHSMV. You can find us on Facebook, too.

The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles is committed to Service, Integrity, Courtesy, Professionalism, Innovation and Excellence in all we do. Please let us know how we are doing via our online customer service survey at https://www.research.net/s/MLR9RGC.
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FEMA MONITORS ISAAC

Washington, DC- August 24, 2012

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and its federal partners, through the FEMA Regional Headquarters in Atlanta, Ga., continue to monitor Tropical Storm Isaac and remain in close coordination with local officials and emergency management partners in southeastern and Gulf Coast states. Yesterday, the storm passed to the south of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, however, a flash flood watch remains in effect for parts of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. FEMA urges residents in affected areas to continue to monitor conditions and follow the direction of local officials. Be aware that water can rise rapidly and flash flooding can occur. If there is any possibility of a flash flood, move immediately to higher ground.

While the exact track of the storm is uncertain, NOAA's National Weather Service forecasts tropical conditions associated with Isaac, including high winds, heavy rain and rough surf, could begin to affect parts of coastal Florida starting as early as this evening into early next week. Residents in potentially impacted areas, including the Florida Keys and the southern Florida peninsula, should monitor the progress of Isaac and be sure to follow direction of local officials.

FEMA has activated an enhanced National Watch in Washington, D.C., and, today, is activating its Regional Response Coordination Center that supports southeastern states, to proactively support any potential needs or requests from coastal states. In anticipation of the storm, FEMA has deployed a liaison to the Florida Division of Emergency Management, and is preparing to deploy liaisons to Alabama and Mississippi as necessary. Other teams have been identified and will be mobilized as needed and requested.

At all times, FEMA maintains commodities including millions of liters of water, millions of meals and hundreds of thousands of blankets, strategically located at distribution centers throughout the United States and its territories, to support states if needed and requested. FEMA has distribution centers in Atlanta, Ga. and Denton, Texas, and in coordination with U.S. Northern Command, has prepositioned supplies closer to potentially affected areas if needed.

"Residents in coastal areas of southeastern states, including the Florida Keys, should be paying close attention to this storm and listening to their local officials for key updates and information," said FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate. "FEMA will continue to coordinate closely with our partners at the federal level, in southern coastal states and on tribal lands, throughout the weekend, as the storm continues to approach coastal areas. Coastal residents are encouraged to take this weekend to discuss your family plans, know your evacuation routes and check your emergency supplies. Visit Ready.gov or Listo.gov for more information."

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends coastal residents include food safety as part of your preparedness plan. Power outages and flooding that often result from weather emergencies compromise the safety of stored food, and planning ahead can minimize the risk of foodborne illness. USDA food safety tips include having a cooler on hand to keep refrigerator food cold in case of power outage, and to group food together in the freezer; this helps the food stay cold longer.

FEMA urges residents in southeastern states to listen to NOAA Weather Radio and local news, monitor for severe weather updates and warnings, and follow instructions of local officials. State and local officials make determinations and announcement about evacuations, and if local officials give the order to evacuate, leave immediately. Everyone should familiarize themselves with the terms that are used to identify a severe weather hazard. A Tropical Storm Watch means that tropical storm conditions are possible within 48 hours. A Tropical Storm Warning means that tropical storm conditions are expected within 36 hours.

History shows that storm tracks can change quickly and unexpectedly, so FEMA encourages coastal residents to monitor weather conditions, follow the direction of local officials, and visit Ready.gov to learn about a few simple steps they can take now to be prepared.

As is always the case, local officials make decisions on issuing evacuation orders, so FEMA advises residents to remember to listen to the direction of their local officials, and to learn where evacuation routes and sheltering locations are located, in case evacuation orders are given.

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FEMA's mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.

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PROGRESS ENERGY PREPARES TO RESPOND TO ISAAC OUTAGES

St. Petersburg, Florida- August 24, 2012

Progress Energy Florida, a subsidiary of Duke Energy, is preparing to mobilize more than 1200 off-system line and tree personnel to assist company crews if Tropical Storm Isaac affects its service territory.
This weekend, crews will be traveling to staging sites across the areas expected to be affected by the storm. The storm is currently forecast to make landfall early next week, possibly as a hurricane, along the northern Gulf Coast. Winds and rains may impact the entire Gulf Coast of Florida starting as early as Sunday evening.

“We are prepared to respond to potential power outages caused by Tropical Storm Isaac,” said Jason Cutliffe, storm director for Progress Energy Florida. “We make continual improvements to our power restoration efforts based on the lessons we have learned from other storms such as Tropical Storm Debby back in June. Now we are able to leverage Duke Energy’s experience as well.”

Progress Energy recently merged with Duke Energy to become the largest electric company in the country. The combined company expands the utility’s ability to quickly plan and decisively respond to major storms such as this. The company’s storm plan includes mobilizing employees to handle increased customer calls, quickly evaluate storm damage, coordinate line crew and equipment mobilization, coordinate materials required for repairs, and arrange meals and lodging for out-of-town workers.

After severe weather, Progress Energy Florida takes specific steps to restore power. Crews first assess damage and determine what personnel, equipment and supplies will be needed to make repairs.
With the Republican National Convention (RNC) beginning Sunday in the Tampa Bay area, Progress Energy Florida is coordinating with the Secret Service, local emergency management organizations, and others to help monitor the event that is bringing more than 50,000 visitors to the area.

In the event the storm interrupts service, customers can call Progress Energy Florida’s automated outage reporting line at 1.800.228.8485. The automated outage reporting system is capable of handling more than 120,000 calls per hour.

In addition to its automated outage reporting phone line, the utility has online resources to allow customers to report outages using computers and compatible mobile devices.

Progress Energy encourages customers interested in using mobile devices or computers to report outages to register before a storm hits. Customers will need their account number, located on their bill, to register. For information on all of the utility’s outage reporting options, visit progress-energy.com/storm.

To keep customers informed following a storm, the company has developed an online outage map showing up-to-date information about current outages and estimated restoration times.

The outage map can be viewed at:
www.progress-energy.com/outagemap.
Progress Energy Florida also sends updates on storm-related outage restorations via Twitter and Facebook. Customers can follow the utility at www.twitter.com/ProgEnergyFL and www.facebook.com/ProgressEnergyFlorida.

Progress Energy Florida offers the following storm safety tips

When the storm threatens:

Progress Energy Florida has a storm information website for customers. The site, www.progress- energy.com/storm, has information for customers on how to prepare for major storms and what they can do if a power outage occurs as a result of a storm. Customers should log on before the storm hits and print information they can reference during the storm.

Check supplies and make sure you have the following items: portable radio with fresh batteries, flashlights, first-aid kit, canned or packaged food that can be prepared without cooking or refrigeration, several days’ supply of drinking water (one gallon per person, per day), a full tank of gas in your car and cash.

Unplug major non-vital appliances. Advanced surge-protection systems will protect your home from most power surges, but will not prevent damage from a direct lightning strike.

Pay attention to local television and radio broadcasts for storm position, intensity and expected landfall.

Prepare for high winds by boarding up windows and other glass, anchoring objects outside and bracing garage door.

Secure boats and trailers on land and check mooring lines of boats in the water.

Put important papers in watertight containers (take them if you evacuate) and move valuables to upper stories of your home. Fill your bathtub with water for sanitary purposes.

Because water conducts electricity, it is not safe to run water during a storm. If you know someone who relies on electric-powered life-support equipment, be prepared to move that person to a facility outside of the storm’s projected path to avoid the risk of an extended power outage.

When the storm hits:

Stay indoors in an inside room away from doors and windows, electrical outlets and water pipes. Don’t go out in the brief calm during the eye of the storm.

Keep television and radio tuned for information from official sources. Be prepared to evacuate at a moment’s notice.

If you evacuate, shut off gas, water and electricity (electricity can be shut off at the breaker box). Take blankets, first-aid supplies and other essential items with you to the nearest shelter.

After the storm has passed:

Never go near downed power lines. Always assume they are energized and extremely dangerous. If someone suffers an electric shock, call 911 or your local rescue squad immediately. Even minor shocks may cause serious health problems later.

Check for electrical damage inside your home, such as frayed wires, sparks or the smell of burning insulation. If you find damage, don’t turn your power on until an electrician inspects your system and makes necessary repairs.

Walk and drive cautiously. Watch out for debris-filled streets and weakened bridges. Snakes and insects can be a problem after storms.

Use your emergency water supply or boil water before drinking it until local officials deem the water supply safe. Report broken sewer or water mains.

Make temporary repairs to protect property from further damage or looting.

Beware of unscrupulous contractors.

If the power goes out:

Call Progress Energy Florida at (800) 228-8485 to report a power outage. You can expedite the process by using this automated outage reporting system. Entering your phone number or Progress Energy account number in the system ensures that
we know about your outage and will capture that information in the company’s restoration plans. Once restoration time estimates are developed, those estimates will also be available to you through the automated system.

Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed. Food usually stays frozen about 48 hours. A refrigerator can keep food cold for about four hours. Remember, when in doubt, throw it out.

Do not connect a generator directly to your home’s electrical system. It is dangerous to you, your neighbors and utility workers. Follow manufacturer’s directions regarding connecting appliances directly to your generator.

In any power outage, utility crews restore service as quickly as possible, starting with the largest lines serving the most people.

For additional storm information and safety tips, visit www.progress-energy.com/storm.

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Progress Energy Florida, a subsidiary of Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK), provides electricity and related services to more than 1.6 million customers in Florida. The company is headquartered in St. Petersburg, Fla., and serves a territory encompassing more than 20,000 square miles including the cities of St. Petersburg and Clearwater, as well as the Central Florida area surrounding Orlando. Progress Energy Florida is pursuing a balanced approach to meeting the future energy needs of the region. That balance includes increased energy-efficiency programs, investments in renewable energy technologies and a state-of-the-art electricity system. More information is available at www.progress-energy.com.
Headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., Duke Energy is a Fortune 250 company traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol DUK. More information about the company is available at: www.duke-energy.com.

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PROGRESS ENERGY WATCHING ISAAC

St. Petersburg, Florida- August 23, 2012

Progress Energy Florida is monitoring the movement and expected track of Tropical Storm Isaac, which is currently forecast to make landfall in Florida early next week, possibly as a hurricane.

Progress Energy Florida, a subsidiary of Duke Energy, has a detailed storm plan in place and has begun preliminary preparations to ensure quick power restoration if the storm affects the company’s service territory. The plan enables the company to mobilize equipment, vehicles and thousands of employees and supplemental contractors who train outside their normal jobs for storm-specific duties in support of restoration efforts.

“We prepare for every scenario,” said Jason Cutliffe, storm director for Progress Energy Florida. “We’re prepared to respond in the event that Isaac or any other storm damages the electric system. We know our customers rely on us to keep them informed and restore service safely and quickly after storms.”

Progress Energy Florida works year-round to maintain the company's 20,000 square-mile service area. Progress Energy invests thousands of staff hours and more than $150 million each year to strengthen its 35-county Florida system against storms. This includes the replacement of poles and other equipment upgrades to minimize the likelihood of outages when storms strike. This companywide focus has enabled Progress Energy to reduce outage times and speed restoration significantly over the years.

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FWC ADVISES BOAT OWNERS TO SECURE VESSELS

Tallahassee, Florida- August 24, 2012

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) advises boat owners to secure their boats properly in advance of possible sustained heavy winds from Tropical Storm Isaac.

Vessels that break free can cause problems to waterways by causing fuel and oil pollution; drifting into bridges, docks, seawalls and piers; and interfering with navigation. In addition, the boats themselves can sustain damage.

“Now is the time to properly secure your vessel to make sure it doesn’t break free and cause damage to property or result in people getting injured,” said Capt. Tom Shipp with the FWC’s Boating and Waterways Section.

If boat owners trailer their boats, the FWC recommends they secure their vessels in a safe location, let some air out of the trailer tires, block the wheels and, if possible, anchor the boat down and/or add weight to help keep the boat in place.

Florida has laws that relate to abandoned vessels. The state is often overwhelmed with lost, abandoned and damaged vessels following significant weather events.

Residents are encouraged to call their local law enforcement agencies or the FWC at 888-404-3922 to report vessels that have broken free.

The FWC’s Division of Law Enforcement and other law enforcement agencies are often tasked with helping people who intentionally put themselves at risk, such as personal watercraft operators who view the high waves created by a storm as an opportunity to jump waves.

“Thrill-seekers are advised to avoid the waters and high winds created from the storm,” Shipp said. “Please keep in mind that when people choose to act irresponsibly, they jeopardize others. They cause law enforcement officers, rescue workers and other emergency personnel to risk their lives unnecessarily.”

Tropical storms and hurricanes are unpredictable. All boaters are urged to keep up to date on the path of this storm and take the appropriate actions. To find out more about properly mooring vessels, reporting debris and for other useful information, go to MyFWC.com/Boating, click on “Safety & Education” and select “Hurricane.” Report damaged markers by calling 866-405-BUOY (866-405-2869).


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