CEMA Warns Against Returning Before Irma Has Passed

091017 Press Release 5 PMCEMA Warns Against Returning Before Irma Has Passed (5 PM UPDATE)


SAVANNAH, GA (September 10, 2017) – The Chatham Emergency Management Agency (CEMA) warns residents who have evacuated to avoid returning to their homes before Hurricane Irma has passed.


Below is a list of safety instructions for those who did not evacuate:



  • Store valuables and personal papers in a waterproof container.
  • Stay inside, away from windows, skylights, and glass doors.
  • Keep a supply of flashlights and extra batteries handy.
  • If power is lost, turn off major appliances to reduce power "surge" when electricity is restored.
  • Have on hand one or more coolers to store perishable food items. Inexpensive Styrofoam coolers work just as well.


Electrical items:

·       If you have an electric garage door, know where the manual release lever is located and how to operate it.

·       Have alternative charging methods for your phone or other essential devices requiring power.

·       Switch off, or disconnect, all electronic equipment in case of a momentary power “surge” that can damage computers and other devices. Consider adding surge protectors to protect these items.

·       Leave a light switched on so you will know when the power is back.

·       If you own a generator, ensure it is plugged directly to the device it is intended for. Never plug the generator directly into your home’s electrical system and always keep it outside of your home to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.


Food and water:

·       An unopened refrigerator will keep food cold for about 4 hours. Limit the amount of times you open and close the refrigerator and freezer.

·       An unopened, full freezer will keep its temperature for 48 hours.

·       If it appears that the outage will last for longer than one day, consider storing food in a cooler filled with ice.

·       Water treatment plants may not be functioning, so water may be contaminated. Drink bottled water, boil water, or treat your tap water with chlorine tablets to ensure the water is safe to drink and use.


Health and safety:

  • Avoid walking through standing water, downed power lines pose the threat of electrocution.

·       Limit unnecessary travel, especially by car. Traffic lights may be out and roads will most likely be congested.


Governor Nathan Deal has expanded the State of Emergency to all 159 counties in Georgia.


The Georgia Department of Transportation closed the Talmadge Bridge today at noon.


The Evacuation Assembly Area (EAA) at the Savannah Civic Center closed at 1 p.m. today. 


Residents, who evacuated from the EAA, will be transported back into Chatham County when conditions are safe.


Residents should not dial 911 for evacuation information. Call (912) 201-4500 instead.


St. Joseph’s/Candler and Memorial Hospitals are no longer accepting patients at this time. The emergency rooms at Memorial and St. Joseph’s Hospitals remain open. 


In order to ensure the safety of first responders, emergency services including fire, ambulance, and rescue will be suspended when wind speeds at the airport reach 39 mph. Residents should be aware that these services will not resume until a road safety assessment has been completed.


When winds go below 39 mph, checkpoints will be established and the county will be closed for damage assessment. A phased re-entry will take place from that point forward and those phases will be available at a later date.


A county wide curfew will be in effect from 10 p.m. tonight until 6 a.m. Monday, September 11, 2017.


Please be mindful that Zone A is still under a mandatory evacuation and no one is permitted in the defined geographic area. Consequences for such action could result in a citation, a fine, and/or up to 60 days in jail.


The following people will be allowed to move about the county during the curfew:

·       Authorized and essential law enforcement personnel;

·       Authorized and essential health care providers;

·       Authorized and essential personnel of the county and municipalities;

·       Authorized National Guard or federal military personnel;

·       Authorized and essential firefighters;

·       Authorized and essential emergency response personnel;

·       Authorized and essential personnel or volunteers working with or through the county emergency management agency (CEMA);

·       Authorized and essential utility repair crews;

·       Citizens seeking to restore order to their homes or businesses while on their own property or place of business; and

·       Other authorized and essential persons as designated on a list compiled by EMA, the Director of Public Safety and/or the Sheriff of the county.



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