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Sen. Ossoff joins FEMA, local leaders to discuss hurricane preparedness

Published: Jun. 17, 2022 at 4:08 PM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - We are more than two weeks into hurricane season and the message about preparedness isn’t wavering.

Some of our federal, state and local leaders met today to make sure people in all of the communities along Georgia’s coast are prepared for whatever impact this hurricane season may have on our area.

Senator Jon Ossoff said, “preparedness does not prevent storms and storms are coming.”

“This year we’re expecting a really robust and active hurricane season,” said Erik Hooks, the deputy administrator with FEMA.

Senator Jon Ossoff, FEMA officials and area leaders are working together on preparedness and response.

“We talked through today the scenario if we find out that in a few days a category 4 or 5 storm is on it’s way to Chatham County, for example, what steps will we initially take? How will we best coordinate? What are some of the key vulnerabilities we need to prepare for?”

FEMA’s Deputy Administrator Erik Hooks says he made a commitment to visit Georgia. He says he came to learn more about the successes and challenges the communities face when disaster strikes.

“There were some challenges brought to our attention about the evacuation of students ahead of the regular community when a pending storm threatens. We want to make sure that we’re well coordinated so that we can get students involved in our thought process as far as evacuation to continue their education as well.”

Senator Ossoff says coastal Georgia is top of mind. He says he’s working on several things to strengthen disaster preparedness like ensuring federal grants are available to make structural improvements to reduce storm surge.

In the meantime, he’s asking that people take these five steps.

“First, make an evacuation plan. Second, prepare a disaster kit. Third, make plans now to prepare your home and business for a storm. Fourth, engage others in our community to do the same and fifth, be prepared to hear, listen and follow evacuation orders and other instructions,” said Senator Ossoff.

“Fortify your homes and businesses as best you can, but your life is more important than any amount of property you could have,” said Hooks.

Tybee Island’s Mayor Shirley Sessions was in attendance and says it’s critical to have support at the federal and state level. She says she sees first-hand how people are still recovering from Hurricanes Matthew and Irma.

She says she encourages everyone to stay vigilant and know the possible risks.

“The last thing we want to do is have to worry about recovery, rescue and response.”

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