On Friday, October 26 Governor Markell briefed reporters on preparations underway for Hurricane Sandy, which is expected to begin with heavy rain on Sunday, with most intensity on Monday and Tuesday, on current projections.
Governor Markell was joined by officials from several statewide organizations including General Frank Vavala, Delaware National Guard; Lewis Schiliro, Cabinet Secretary, Department of Safety and Homeland Security; Jamie Turner, Director, Delaware Emergency Management Agency; Shailen Bhatt, Secretary, DelDOT; and Collin O’Mara, Secretary, Natural Resources and Environmental Control.
Governor Markell stated that individuals should be “preparing for severe flooding, high sustained winds up to 70 miles per hour and heavy rain. Although the storm is predicted to begin here on Sunday, this storm will be a long lasting event extending into Tuesday. The length of this storm is something we are very concerned about.”
The Governor stated that the Delaware Emergency Management Agency (DEMA) has already requested assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The Delaware Department of Transportation (DELDOT) will be ready to assist in evacuation situations if necessary. According to the Governor, the American Red Cross has been working with local schools to define areas for shelters if they are needed.
Governor Markell stated that individuals need to prepare to stay in their homes but also prepare to leave if they live along the coast of Delaware. He urged those that live in flooding prone areas to prepare a plan of where to go and what to take with them if evacuation becomes necessary. Individuals that stay in their homes need to prepared to stay in their homes for a few days, possibly with no electric.
The Governor has not issued a State of Emergency and stated that the final decision to do so will most likely be made tomorrow. He stated that a deceleration of a State of Emergency would be likely if the State imposes a mandatory evacuation or vehicle restrictions.
“We will communicate with the public through the media quickly and consistently.”
In a press release sent to the media earlier in the day, Safety and Homeland Security Secretary Lewis D. Schiliro urged everyone to use this time to review their household emergency plan and to check emergency supplies.
“It is very important for the public to also monitor the weather and be aware of pending effects of a storm well in advance in order to plan and act safely. “Have a plan, get a kit and stay informed,” Schiliro said. “We want everyone to have food and water for at least three days, batteries for lights and radios and a means of charging cell phones. Remember that part of your emergency plan is to have a destination in mind if you have to evacuate.”
Our citizens should also check on their neighbors who may be in need of assistance, Schiliro said.
The press release state that additional things to consider in planning for an emergency include food and medications for those that might have special dietary or pharmaceutical needs and/or appropriate equipment for family members who might use assistive technology. Families also need to remember the needs of pets and stock adequate food and supplies as well as appropriate carriers or restraints should evacuation be required.
A very important component of each household emergency plan is to have important documents like medical records, deeds or leases, insurance records and birth certificates copied and stored where they can be easily accessed and packed in case of evacuation.