FEMA Working with Federal Partners to Support States and Tribes
Seeking Assistance due to Hurricane Matthew Impacts
October 8, 2016
FEMA is working with its federal partners at the Regional Response Coordination Center in Atlanta, as well as the National Response Coordination Center at FEMA Headquarters in Washington, D.C. to help coordinate any requests for assistance from the affected states and tribes as a result of impacts from Hurricane Matthew. These centers bring together partners from the federal family to closely coordinate federal resources that may be requested from the affected state and tribal governments.
As Hurricane Matthew continues to move through the southeast, FEMA is encouraging coastal and inland residents to monitor weather conditions and follow the directions of state, tribal, and local officials in the impacted area. If residents are evacuating, continue to listen to the directions of state, tribal, and local officials before returning home.
According to the National Weather Service, hurricane and tropical storm conditions will continue along coastal Georgia and South Carolina today and spread northward toward coastal North Carolina later today intotonight. Matthew is expected to produce total rain accumulations of 8 to 12 inches near and east of Interstate 95 in South Carolina and North Carolina, with possible isolated maximum amounts of 15 inches Matthew is expected to produce 2 to 6 inches of rain over central South Carolina, western North Carolina, and southeastern Virginia. Significant flooding is expected over portions of northeastern Florida and southeastern Georgia into the weekend as a result of the combination of both storm surge/tidal flooding and freshwater/rainfall.
The combination of a dangerous storm surge and tide will cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded by rising waters moving inland from the shoreline. There is danger of life-threatening inundation during the next 36 hours along the Florida northeast coast, Georgia and South Carolina coasts, and portions of the North Carolina coast. The depth of water could reach 6 to 9 feet above normally dry ground during times of high tide from Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, to Edisto Beach, South Carolina, including part of the St. Johns River, which is already experiencing flooding.
FEMA has ten Urban Search & Rescue teams on the ground to support anticipated search and rescue efforts as a result of Hurricane Matthew. Two teams are in Florida, four teams are in South Carolina, three teams are in Georgia, and one team is in North Carolina. Three additional teams are scheduled to arrive in Georgia today.
FEMA Incident Management Assistance Teams (IMAT) are on the ground in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina. These teams are in place to support preparation and anticipated response activities, and ensure there are no unmet needs. Additional teams from around the country are ready to deploy to affected states and tribes as necessary.
As of this morning, 6 FEMA Disaster Survivor Assistance Teams (DSAT) are deployed to help federal, state, local and tribal partners gather detailed information on the affected communities during the critical days and weeks. DSATs will address immediate and emerging needs of disaster survivors including: on-the-spot needs assessments, requests for disability related accommodations and access to partners offering survivor services.
As of this morning, more than 680 FEMA staff (including DSATs and IMATs) are deployed to impacted states in support of response and recovery efforts for Hurricane Matthew.
In support of the response to Hurricane Matthew, FEMA has made available more than 1,427,000 meals, more than 958,000 liters of water, and more than 48,000 blankets for state, tribal, and local officials to distribute to individuals. These points of distribution are centralized locations established by state or local officials where supplies are delivered. The public travels to the site to pick up commodities following a disaster or emergency.
As of this morning, FEMA made available more than 71,000 meals and 341,000 liters of water to the state and tribes in Florida; more than 535,000 meals, more than 617,000 liters of water, and more than 17,000 blankets to the state and tribes in Georgia; more than 570,000 meals and more than 26,000 blankets to the state and tribes in North Carolina; and more than 250,000 meals and 4,500 blankets to the state and tribes in South Carolina.
Incident Support Bases (ISB) are staffed and operational in Albany, Georgia and Fort Bragg, North Carolina. ISBs are established to pre-position commodities and resources closer to potentially affected areas. Additional supplies continue to arrive from FEMA’s distribution centers around the country.
Mobile Emergency Response Support (MERS) personnel and equipment are in the Albany, Georgia and Fort Bragg, North Carolina ISBs, including five Mobile Communications Office Vehicles (MCOV) in Fort Bragg, and two in Albany, to assist states and tribes with secure and non-secure voice, video and information services to support emergency response communications needs. Additionally, there are 3 MCOVs in Florida to support state and tribal governments with communications needs.
Shelters are open across the affected areas. Download the FEMA mobile app for shelter information, disaster resources, weather alerts, and safety tips, in English and in Spanish. The app provides a customizable checklist of emergency supplies, maps of open shelters and recovery centers, disaster survival tips, and weather alerts from the National Weather Service. The app also enables users to receive push notifications reminding them to take important steps to prepare their homes and families for disasters.
Use internet websites like Facebook or Twitter to let friends and family know you’re safe or to inquire about your loved ones. Register with the American Red Cross’s Safe and Well website (www.redcross.org/safeandwell) to let family know you are safe or looking for loved ones.
To report a missing child, please contact the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children at 1-866-908-9570. Anyone who finds an unaccompanied child who may have been separated from his/her parents or caregivers because of the hurricane can enter basic information and/or a photo into the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children’s Unaccompanied Minors Registry (UMR): http://umr.missingkids.org or call1-866-908-9570.
As images of Hurricane Matthew’s impact make their way around the country, and you want to help those impacted, contact your local volunteer organization to help with requests for volunteers, cash, food, clothing and blood donations.
Any individuals on the ground in the impacted areas looking to help or assist with response and recovery efforts should contact their American Red Cross chapter or their local Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD) chapter to connect to many organizations working on the ground that are in need of volunteers. To get in touch with the local VOAD currently in affected areas, visit
Emergency Declarations for States and Tribes
- Governor Rick Scott of Florida submitted a request for an expedited Major Disaster declaration, on October 7, 2016, for Individual Assistance and Public Assistance, for Brevard, Duval, Flagler, Indian River, Nassau, St. Johns, St. Lucie, Volusia counties and Hazard Mitigation statewide as a result of Hurricane Matthew. The request is currently under review.
- On October 7, 2016, President Obama declared an emergency for 56 counties in the State of Florida in anticipation of Hurricane Matthew’s impact, authorizing FEMA to support the state in its efforts to prepare for, and to respond to the incident.
- On October 6, 2016, President Obama declared an emergency for 28 counties in the State of Florida in anticipation of Hurricane Matthew’s impact, authorizing FEMA to support the state in its efforts to prepare for, and to respond to the incident.
- On October 6, 2016, President Obama declared an emergency for 30 counties in the State of Georgia in anticipation of Hurricane Matthew’s impact, authorizing FEMA to support the state in its efforts to prepare for, and to respond to the incident.
- On October 6, 2016, President Obama declared an emergency for all 46 counties, and the Catawba Indian Nation in the State of South Carolina in anticipation of Hurricane Matthew’s impact, authorizing FEMA to support the state in its efforts to prepare for, and to respond to the incident.
- These pre-disaster emergency declarations make Direct Federal Assistance available to save lives and protect property.
Federal/Private Sector Coordination Efforts
- The American Red Cross has shelters open throughout Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina. These shelters include accommodations for those with medical, and/or access and functional needs.
- S. Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service has approved the early release of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits for October and November in the 28 counties that received the federal emergency declaration in Florida.
- The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is prepared to conduct Unmanned Aircraft System Operations in the affected areas to aid with damage assessments.
- The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) deployed storm surge sensors and rapid deployment gauges to potentially affected areas and continues to monitor riverine flooding.
- The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is monitoring and inspecting dams operated by the Army Corps as well as non-federal dams that are being requested to be inspected by state partners and/or by FEMA. Additionally, temporary Roofing Subject Matter Experts are deployed to Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina to provide Technical Assistance to states and tribes.
- The U.S. Coast Guard continues to assess and advise the status of ports along the storm’s path.
- The S. Department of Health and Human Services deployed eight Disaster Medical Assistance Teams, two National Veterinary Response Teams, a Public Health System Deployment Force team, disaster mortuary assessment personnel and an Incident Response Coordination Team.
- National Park Service (NPS) personnel are currently staged at Ft. Bragg, NC including three water rescue teams to assist with search and rescue efforts.
- The National Business Emergency Operations Center is coordinating with affected states and tribes to work with private sector companies, preparing for landfall and coordinating on evacuation orders, potential transportation impacts, and access/re-entry permits ahead of the storm.
Safety and Preparedness Tips
- With extensive loss of power across the impacted areas, FEMA reminds residents
- Do not touch downed power lines or objects in contact with downed lines. Report electrical hazards to the police and the utility company.
- Be especially careful during a loss of electrical power, as the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning and fire increases at that time.
- Never use a generator inside a home, basement, shed or garage even if doors and windows are open.
- Keep generators outside and far away from windows, doors and vents. Read both the label on your generator and the owner’s manual and follow the instructions.
- If using candles, please use caution. If possible, use flashlights instead. If you must use candles, do not burn them on or near anything that can catch fire.
- Never taste food or rely on appearance or odor to determine its safety. Some foods may look and smell fine, but if they have been at room temperature too long, bacteria causing food-borne illnesses can start growing quickly. Some types of bacteria produce toxins that cannot be destroyed by cooking.
- Residents and visitors throughout at risk areas in the southeast, including inland areas, are urged to monitor local radio or TV stations for updated emergency information, and follow the instructions of state, local, and tribal officials.
- Hurricane Matthew is producing life-threatening rain, wind and storm surge. This serves as a reminder for residents in areas at-risk of being affected by this storm to refresh their emergency kits and review family plans. If you do not have an emergency kit or family plan, to learn about steps you can take now to prepare your family for severe weather, visit gov.
- Those in impacted areas should be familiar with evacuation routes, have a communications plan, keep a battery-powered radio handy and have a plan for their pets before the storm affects your area. If you have a car, keep a full tank of gas in it if an evacuation seems likely. Gas stations may be closed during emergencies and unable to pump gas during power outages. Plan to take one car per family to reduce congestion and delay.
- Individuals should visit Ready.gov or www.listo.gov to learn these and other preparedness tips for tropical storms or hurricanes.
- Businesses of all sizes should prepare for all hazards including severe weather to prevent loss of life, property, or disruption to operations.
- Review and update your business continuity plan and ensure your workforce knows what to do during severe weather. Resources are available on web sites such as gov/business and the Sba.gov/disaster-planning.
- Encourage your employees to update their family emergency plan to stay connected during severe weather while at work and develop alternate methods of communication.
- Hurricane Matthew is producing dangerous flooding. Driving through a flooded area can be extremely hazardous and almost half of all flash flood deaths happen in vehicles. When in your car, look out for flooding in low lying areas, at bridges and at highway dips. As little as six inches of water may cause you to lose control of your vehicle.
- If you encounter flood waters, remember – turn around, don’t drown.
- Get to know the terms that are used to identify severe weather and discuss with your family what to do if a watch or warning is issued:
- For a hurricane:
- A Hurricane Watch is issued when a tropical cyclone containing winds of at least 74 MPH poses a possible threat, generally within 48 hours.
- A Hurricane Warning is issued when sustained winds of 74 MPH or higher associated with a tropical cyclone are expected in 36 hours or less. A hurricane warning can remain in effect when dangerously high water or a combination of dangerously high water and exceptionally high waves continue, even though winds may be less than hurricane force.
- For a tropical storm:
- A Tropical Storm Watch is issued when tropical cyclone containing winds of at least 39 MPH or higher poses a possible threat, generally within 48 hours.
- A Tropical Storm Warning is issued when sustained winds of 39 MPH or higher associated with a tropical cyclone are expected in 36 hours or less.
- For flooding:
- A Flood Watch is issued when conditions are favorable for flooding.
- A Flood Warning is issued when flooding is imminent or occurring.
If you have flood insurance, there are additional steps you can take to be prepared before the storm affects your area:
- Safeguard your possessions
- Create a personal flood file containing information about all your possessions and keep it in a secure place, such as a safe deposit box or waterproof container. This file should have:
- A copy of your insurance policies with your agent contact information.
- A household inventory: For insurance purposes, be sure to keep a written and visual (i.e., videotaped or photographed) record of all major household items and valuables, even those stored in basements, attics or garages. Create files that include serial numbers and store receipts for major appliances and electronics. Have jewelry and artwork appraised. These documents are critically important when filing insurance claims.
- Copies of all other critical documents, including finance records or receipts of major purchases.
- Prepare your house
- First make sure your sump pump is working and then install a battery-operated backup, in case of a power failure. If you already have a battery backup, install fresh batteries. Installing a water alarm will also let you know if water is accumulating in your basement.
- Clear debris from gutters and downspouts. Clear storm drains in the street or near your home of leaves and debris.:
- Move electronics, valuables, and important documents to a safe place.
- Roll up area rugs, where possible, and store them on higher floors or elevations. This will reduce the chances of rugs getting wet and growing mold.
- Shut off electrical service at the main breaker if the electrical system and outlets will be under water.
- If you incur expenses due to protecting your home in preparation for coming storms and flooding – such as purchasing sandbags – you may be able to file a claim against your NFIP flood policy for reimbursement. Call your insurance agent to discuss your coverage and learn more.
- If your community is flooded, and your property or home has suffered flood damage, you will be asked to provide a list and photographs of items that were damaged. If possible, take time before the storm to make a list of items in your home, including their age and value, and photos of these items. Should your home experience flood damage, this information will help your adjustor to calculate the value of the damage and prepare a repair estimate.
If you have any questions, please contact FEMA’s Intergovernmental Affairs Division at (202) 646-3444 or at FEMA-IGA@fema.dhs.gov.
Download the FEMA App to locate and get directions to open shelters across the state, and receive weather alerts from the National Weather Service for up to five different locations anywhere in the United States.
Follow FEMA online at www.fema.gov/blog, www.twitter.com/fema,www.facebook.com/fema and www.youtube.com/fema. Also, follow Administrator Craig Fugate’s activities atwww.twitter.com/craigatfema. The social media links provided are for reference only. FEMA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies or applications.
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.