As Coast Guard members we are always thinking about the public when a hurricane is pushing down on us. But we also need to make sure our families are ready as well.
Hurricane Matthew is expected to make landfall in Florida as early as the evening of Thursday, Oct. 6, 2016. Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina are expected to be impacted the most, but other areas may see increased wind and rain.
Maximum sustained winds are near 140 mph (220 km/h) with higher gusts. Matthew is a category 4 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. Some additional strengthening is possible, and Matthew should remain a Category 4 hurricane while it approaches the Florida coast.
Evacuate your family as necessary in accordance with evacuation orders from authorities, and make sure to inform your chain of command.
Evacuations orders do not apply to uniformed personnel in the same way as they do for your families. You may be told to stay in the event you are deemed necessary for hurricane response efforts. Make sure you have a plan in place for where your family will go (with or without you) and follow through with the plan.
- Prepare early! The first things to go off the shelves are water and gasoline.
- Make sure you have filled up your cars and keep them topped off.
- Make sure you have enough water and food for 3-4 days in the event you get stuck and don’t have power
- Things to make sure you have in event of loss of power:
- Two or three flashlights (minimum)
- Propane for grill or cooking device
- Batteries and a battery operated radio
- Sandbags are the best to keep water at bay, make sure you have enough of them and make a barrier around vulnerable doors.
- Get valuable things off the ground.
- Unplug electronics, and especially if you are in a flood zone, get all exposed power devices away from water.
- Charge your devices and keep them charged in event of loss of power. Have an extra battery backup for your phone or device to charge.
APPS to know for CG members and family members:
- AWS Mobile App is only for Coast Guard Employees (active duty, civilian, and reserve) as well as port partners, Non-Appropriate Fund, and contract employees in possession of a Command Access Card. The AWS mobile app allows AWS alert recipients an easy and efficient means to receive and respond to AWS alerts. Go to the AWS Portal Page for instructions to download app.
- The Coast Guard HSWL Mobile App is available in the Apple app store (just search for USCG HSWL) or use the link: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/uscg-hswl/id669218420?mt=8. The Android version is available through Google at: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.ravensolutions.coastguard&hl=en
- American Red Cross of North Central Florida – The Red Cross is the best place to contact if you are in need of anything.
- Florida Division of Emergency Management – State Emergency Response Team – Providing up to date maps of current conditions as well as Evacuation routes for each county and storm surge information.
- FEMA – Florida – FEMA has all the information to help you prepare as well as survive a disaster.
- The National Hurricane Center and the Central Pacific Hurricane Center issue watches, warnings, forecasts, and analyses of hazardous tropical weather.
Recent blog on hurricane preparedness: How to prepare for hurricane; prepare early and often!