GEMHSA Urges Coastal Georgians to Prepare for Category 3 Hurricane Matthew

| October 5, 2016


ATLANTA – The Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency urges coastal Georgians to remain vigilant and take necessary precautions in anticipation of Hurricane Matthew.

Governor Nathan Deal declared a State of Emergency for 13 counties and the State Operations Center is working closely with local governments to prepare for potential impacts from this powerful Category 3 major hurricane.

“Hurricane Matthew has the potential to be the first landfall of a major hurricane in Georgia in 118 years,” said GEMHSA Director Jim Butterworth. “Although it is too soon to tell what the impact on Georgia will be, now is the time for residents who live in southeastern and coastal Georgia to take action: stay weather aware, make emergency plans and begin preparations to protect property.”

  • It is critical for coastal residents to closely monitor local media reports, register for county emergency alerts and download the Ready Georgia app for geo-targeted weather alerts.
  • If you are in the path of the storm, listen to local authorities for advice and specific protective actions.

If you haven’t already stocked your disaster supplies kit, you should do so now. Include:

  • Enough water and non-perishable food per person to last for at least three days and special items for infants, the infirmed and the elderly. Don’t forget to include pets in your preparations.
  • First aid kit and essential medications.
  • Protective clothing, rainwear and bedding or sleeping bags.
  • Battery-powered radio, flashlight and extra batteries.
  • An extra set of car keys, cash and a credit card.

Create your family emergency plan.

  • Choose a place where your family will meet if they can’t return home or there are issues communicating via phone when disaster strikes.
  • Designate an out-of-town relative or friend as a point of contact.
  • Fill your car’s gas tank.
  • Know your evacuation routes, and know where you will go if ordered to leave. Keep a road map in your car – you may need to take an unfamiliar route if major roads are closed or clogged.
  • Remember to take your disaster supplies kit with you when evacuating.

Coastal residents should prepare for high winds:

  • Prepare to bring inside any outdoor furniture, decorations or ornaments, trash cans, hanging plants, and anything else that can be picked up by the wind.
  • Prepare to cover all windows of your home. Install hurricane shutters or purchase pre-cut 1/2″ outdoor plywood boards for each window of your home. Install anchors for the plywood and pre-drill holes in the plywood so that you can put it up quickly.
  • Recheck manufactured home tie-downs.
  • Make trees more wind resistant by trimming diseased and damaged limbs, then strategically removing branches so that wind can blow through.

The State Operations Center is fully staffed with representatives from state agencies and non-governmental organizations to provide assistance to local governments. GEMHSA deployed field coordinators around the state to facilitate local needs through their county emergency management agencies.

As part of the Office of the Governor, GEMHSA works with local, state and federal governments, in partnership with the private sector and faith-based community, to protect life and property against man-made and natural emergencies. In addition, GEMHSA employees are on 24-hour call statewide to assist local authorities when disaster strikes. GEMHSA’s Ready Georgia campaign helps Georgians prepare for disasters. Go to or download the free Ready Georgia app for information on developing a custom emergency plan and Ready kit.

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