|Important Phone Numbers|
Camden County Emergency Operations Center
American Red Cross, Local
American Red Cross, Jacksonville
In emergencies for Police, Fire, or Medical
Georgia Emergency Management Agency
|A Message from Your County Government|
June 1st was the official start of the 2011 Hurricane Season. Camden County, being a coastal county, is particularly at risk for hurricanes that form in the southern Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico. Every Georgia resident should prepare for hurricanes, plan to evacuate, and stay informed in the unfornate event of a hurricane hitting our area. We must guard ourselves against complacency through preparation.
Be safe...and be prepared! "It is very important that we treat hurricane season seriously," said Steve L. Howard, County Admininstrator. "We should take steps now to prepare our families and businesses for such an event."
By planning ahead, you'll ensure that you and your loved ones are safe and secure. You'll also save yourself time, money and worry. We hope you enjoy and find knowledge throughout the Hurricane Guide 2011, provided by the Camden County Board of County Commissioners.
|Emergency Management Agency|
The Emergency Management Agency is
|Mark Crews, EMA Director |
responsible for the management of all emergency preparedness programs within the County.
Using the previsions of Georgia statues, the Agency is responsible for developing and implementing comprehensive:
- Disaster planning
- Response activities within Camden County
History teaches that a lack of hurricane awareness and preparation are common threads among all major hurricane disasters. By knowing your vulnerability and what actions you should take, you can reduce the effects of a hurricane disaster.
Hurricane hazards come in many forms: storm surge, high winds, tornadoes, and flooding. This means it is important for your family to have a plan that includes all of these hazards. Look carefully at the safety actions associated with each type of hurricane hazard and prepare your family disaster plan accordingly.
But remember this is only a guide. The first and most important thing anyone should do when facing a hurricane threat is to use common sense.
You should be able to answer the following questions before a hurricane threatens:
- What are the Hurricane Hazards?
- What does it mean to you?
- What actions should you take to be prepared?
|An Unusual Year for Extreme Weather and Natural Disasters|
You don't have to be a meteorologist to know that 2011 has already been an unusual year for extreme weather and natural disasters.
- In March, we watched in horror as a 30 foot tsunami spawned by an 8.9 magnitude earthquake destroyed everything in its path in Japan.
- On April 27, a tornado tore through Ringgold Ga., where an entire family of 4 lost their lives in just one home. Documents and photos from their home were found 110 miles away in Tennessee.
- Night after night newscasters kept us informed as the Mississippi River swelled over its banks flooding homes and farmland as it made its way downstream. Earthen levies constructed decades ago failed and flood gates had to be opened to relieve flood waters only to flood family farms.
- The month of May brought record strength tornados in Missouri. The town of Joplin was almost entirely destroyed in a matter of minutes.
- Severe weather continues to occur around us as we approach the 2011 season. Just this week as severe weather passed passed through Atlanta, 2 women were killed in their car by a falling tree.
All of these things make us very concerned about the approaching hurricane season. As most know, hurricanes draw energy from the warm waters of the Atlantic Ocean. The longer the storm is over warm water the more likely it is to intensify into a major storm. Early indications this year show that the waters of the Atlantic are warmer than usual for this time of the year and those warm waters extend far into the Gulf of Mexico. These factors could cause hurricanes to travel further west before taking their normal turn to the north and east. Storms that travel farther west before they make their turn northeast could have major impacts to Camden County. In 2004, Hurricanes Jeanne and Frances both caused major damage to roads and infrastructure in Camden. Both of these storms traveled far west into Florida before turning northeast and striking our area from the west. The combined destruction of those storms caused enough significant damage to qualify us for FEMA disaster relief funding.
The coast of Georgia has been fortunate for a very long time. It's been more than 100 years since a major hurricane has made landfall on our coast. The last hurricane to directly impact Camden County was in 1898 and was a major category 4 storm.
Each year someone will ask me what I think of the forecast for the upcoming season. My answer is always the same, and that is; If we have a record number of hurricanes and none of those impact Camden County, then I consider that a good year. However, if there is only one storm for the entire year and that storm devastates our community then I would consider that a very bad year. It only takes one major weather event, such as those we have witnessed in recent weeks, to severely change our lives forever.
"My advice has always been the same," said Mark Crews, EMA Director, "and that is, always be prepared."
The emergency preparedness measures that you take in preparing for any severe weather event will greatly increases your family's chances for survival.
Everyone should have an emergency suppliy kit that contains items that would help you to be self-reliant for an extended period of time. In addition to the normal necessities of food and water, you should have items that are specific to you and your needs. Comfortable clothes and shoes, prescription medications, and extra eye glasses are all examples of specific personal items. Additionally you should consider having cash, copies of important documents, paper maps, toiletries, tools and even games for the kids.
Personal preparedness is everyone's responsibility. The better prepared we are as individuals increases our chances of survival and enables us to assist others.
|History of Major Hurricanes within 65 nmi of Coastal Georgia|
Coastal Georgia Hurricanes 1900 - 2010
5 Events over 100 Years - None of these were considered major hurricanes:
Coastal Georgia Hurricanes 1800 - 1899
17 Events over 100 Years - 6 of these were considered major hurricanes:
|CodeRED Weather Warnings|
Camden County and the cities of St. Marys, Kingsland and Woodbine have partnered together to provide Severe Weather Warnings to their residents.
As of June 1, 2009 citizens living in the cities of St. Marys, Kingsland and Woodbine as well as those living in the unincorporated areas of Camden County can register their homes to receive severe weather warnings as they are issued by the National Weather Service (NWS) in Jacksonville, Florida. In the past the NWS issued warnings for tornados, flash floods and severe thunder storms for an entire county, even if the threat affected only a small portion of the warning area. Due to advances in technology those warnings are now issued just for the threatened area.
Anyone living in the above mentioned areas can now register their address and telephone numbers to receive a recorded message from the CodeRED messaging system warning them of impending severe weather within seconds of being issued by the NWS.
Only tornado, flash flood and severe thunder storm warnings will be sent using this system.
The CodeRED Emergency Notification System is a high volume - high speed Communication Service available for mass emergency notifications. CodeRED employs a one-of-a-kind Internet mapping capability for geographic targeting of calls, coupled with a high speed telephone calling system capable of delivering customized pre-recorded emergency messages directly to homes and businesses at the rate of up to 60,000 calls per hour.
Weather Warning is a feature of CodeRED that requires no action from local officials. As the warnings are issued by the NWS, Code Red will automatically send warning to the phone numbers that are registered to receive this service.
To register your address and phone number(s) for Severe Weather Warnings you must enter your information with CodeRED, even if you have registered before.
You may enter your information from any of the following websites:
Look for the CodeRED icons. Follow the CodeRED link to Community Notification Enrollment page and enter your information as before. You will now see a Weather Warning section that includes a check box. Leave the check mark in the box to receive the weather warnings.
A new feature with CodeRED is the ability to create an account for individuals. Creating an account allows you to manage certain preferences, such as the ability to choose the types of warnings you receive on different phones and which data base you receive calls from.
If you are unable to enroll via the internet you may call Camden Emergency Management Agency at (912) 729-5602 for assistance in registering your home or business.
|Hurricane Watch vs. Warning|
A hurricane watch is issued when there is a threat of hurricane conditions within 36 hours.
- Fill up your car with gas
- Secure buildings
- Review evacuation plan
- Listen to a radio or television for official instructions
- Check your family's emergency supplies
- Bring in outdoor objects such as toys and garden tools
- Turn your refrigerator and freezer to their coldest settings
- Secure outdoor objects which cannot be brought inside, such as boats and lawnmowers
- Store drinking water in clean bathtubs, jugs, and bottles
A hurricane warning is issued when hurricane conditions are expected in 24 hours or less.
- Listen to a radio or television for official instructions
- If in a mobile home, check tie downs and prepare to 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
- Avoid open flames, such as candles and kerosene lamps, as a source of light
- If power is lost, turn major appliances off to reduce a power surge when electricity is restored
|American Red Cross|
Disaster Preparedness should be on every family's mind throughout the year and especially before hurricane season. Remember that hurricane season begins June 1st and lasts until November 30th. Being prepared for any type of disaster will mean a better outcome for you and your family.
The Red Cross recommends the following safety steps and tips to prepare for the upcoming season:
- Assemble a Disaster Supply Kit
- Gather emergency supplies including: emergency medications, nonperishable foods, a non-electric can opener, bottled water (at least one gallon per day per person), a battery-powered radio, flashlight, extra batteries, extra clothes, important documents, cash and credit cards, a first aid kit and other items for infants, elderly, disabled family members, and/or pets
- Store supplies in a waterproof, easy-to-carry container, such as plastic tub with handles
- Prepare a Personal Evacuation Plan
- Identify an evacuation route ahead of time; discuss with family members
- If advised to evacuate, do so immediately
- In case of evacuation to an American Red Cross shelter, be sure to bring the disaster supplies kit, medications, extra clothing, pillows and blankets and other hygiene and comfort supplies
- Make advance preparations for pets so you can bring them with you when you leave, but remember, due to health department regulations, pets aren't allowed in most public shelters
If you are interested in learning more about disaster preparedness, having a presentation at your location, or voluntering in the event of a local or national disaster, please visit your Camden, Charlton, Kings Bay Service Center, located at 600 N. Charles Gilman Jr. Ave in Kingsland or call (912) 576-1461 or (912) 573-3939.
|Georgia Evacuation Routes|
Several factors make evacuation difficult for Camden County residents. Interstate 95 is usually congested with the flow of traffic coming out of Florida. As the first Georgia county along Interstate 95 northbound, many Florida storm evacuees tend to stop in Camden County. Some stop for gas and food, some stop for lodging and others get off the interstate looking for alternate routes. This additional traffic on local roadways makes our evacuation more congested.
Camden County's evacuations are also hindered by the limited number of routes leading out of the County. Because the majority of Camden's population base is in the southern portion of the County, most people will attempt to use Highway 40 as their route west. There are, however, several other routes that you can take north, south and west from Camden County. Interstate 95 / Ga. 405
Runs north and south through Camden County and can be taken north into Glynn County and points beyond, and south into Florida. Highway 40
Runs west from St. Marys into Charlton County.
Highway 17 / Ga. 25
Runs through Camden and can be used taken north into Glynn County and south into Nassau County, Florida.
Runs west from White Oak into Charlton County.
Runs northwest from Tarboro into Brantley County.
If you are asked to evacuate, please keep in mind that the decision was based on your safety.
- Take blankets and sleeping bags to the shelter.
- Tell someone outside of the storm area where you are going.
- Bring pre-assembled emergency supplies and warm protective clothing.
- Leave as soon as possible - avoid flooded roads and washed-out bridges.
- Lock up home and leave.
When choosing an evacuation route, consider these points:
- Keep a road map in your car. GPS units only work when you have a specific destination to which you are traveling. They may not work as well when you have no set destination.
- Traveling north or south out of the county may lead to less traveled secondary roads.
- Secondary roads that may be less known, may also be less traveled.
- Listen to radio information about possible road closures due to congestion or flooding.
|Re-Entry After Evacuations|
Should Camden County have wide spread destruction following a tropical storm, access back into the County would be controlled by checkpoints. These checkpoints will be manned by Georgia State Patrol officers. Re-entry back into Camden County will be done in phases.
Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT), accompanied by electrical utility workers will be the first to re-enter. DOT will clear main corridors by performing a "Cut and Push" to clear roads. Also bridge inspectors will determine if bridges are safe to cross. The electrical companies will assist by making "safe" all downed power lines.
Local public safety responders will re-enter the county to begin search and rescue. Local public works essential employees will re-enter to begin assessing damage and making repairs to infrastructure. Chief elected officials will re-enter to assess damage and begin recovery efforts. Some businesses that provide basic necessities, such as food and water will also be allowed to re-enter.
During Phase 2 re-entry, only those with re-entry passes will be permitted to pass through the checkpoints. The re-entry passes issued by EMA, are the only form of identification that the Georgia State Patrol will allow to pass through the checkpoints. Once back in the county, your agency issued essential worker ID will be required.
Locals with proof of residency or ownership of local businesses will be allowed back into the county.
Normal traffic flow with no restrictions.
|When Re-Entry is Controlled|
Be patient. Access to affected areas will be controlled to prevent looting and injuries. Roads may be blocked, trees and power lines may be down.
Local radio and television stations will be the key source of information concerning when and how to re-enter.
Local recorded information will be available by calling the Emergency Hotline at (912) 576-3800.
|It will never happen here!
That's probably what people in New Orleans, Homestead, and the Keys have said. But the entire coast from Texas to Maine is vulnerable to hurricanes. Hurricanes are forces of nature, and nature is not always predictable. Remember, people in Louisiana are still rebuilding.
The weather looks great, I'm going to wait until the weather gets bad before I evacuate.
This can be one of the most dangerous decisions you can make. Storm paths are extremely unpredictable, and waiting until the last minute can leave you with no place to go to escape a storm's fury. Evacuation orders are given based on the best information available and are issued early enough to allow sufficient time for people to get to shelters. Don't take chances with your life. Gather your important papers such as your homeowner's insurance policy, deeds to property and birth certificates, your hurricane survival kit, prescriptions and cash, as you may not be able to use credit cards after the storm. Secure your home and leave as quickly and safely as possible.
Why do I need an evacuation plan? When the order comes down, I'm going to go to an emergency shelter.
Emergency shelters are safe places to ride out a hurricane, but they are not the most comfortable. They will be crowded and noisy, and, most likely, you will be sleeping on the floor. Your first and best option is to evacuate to a host home, the house of a friend, coworker or associate living in a non-evacuation zone.
I've got my mobile home tied down and braced. It will be a safe place to ride out the storm.
A mobile home is NEVER a safe place to weather a hurricane. In fact, once a mandatory evacuation is ordered, all mobile home residents are required to leave their dwellings, no matter how well secured they are.
My windows are ready. I have them taped.
Taping windows to prevent breakage or limit the amount of shattering is not an effective form of window protection and can create airborne daggers of glass should the windows break. Window coverings made of 5/8-inch plywood or metal and fastened correctly can improve the chances of having your home survive the impact of a storm.
I'm going to open the windows on the side opposite the wind so the air pressure doesn't explode my house.
The best way to keep your home safe is to keep the wind OUT! Studies have shown that opening a window can increase the amount of damage done by wind. When a hurricane threatens, keep your home sealed up tight.
|Advice for Older Adults|
People who are elderly, frail or disabled (either mentally or physically) may need special assistance from family members, friends or social service agencies. Excessive stress and anxiety can contribute to increased episodes of illness, particularly for persons with heart disease and other conditions in the event of a disaster. Older adults who are also caregivers may require outside assistance.
If an older adult lives in a skilled nursing home or assisted living facility (ALF), then you should contact that facility to learn about the evacuation plan for that facility which is required by Georgia State Statutes.
Home Health Care and Home-Bound Patients
Think! Plan! Act!
As we prepare for this hurricane season, please keep in mind that no one really knows when a storm will form or where it will go before it develops. It is extremely vital to be prepared and have a family plan of action. You have already taken the first step by taking the time to read this hurricane guide provided to you by the Camden County Board of County Commissioners. Being informed and having a plan will help you decide whether to stay or leave, and keep you from getting caught in the middle.
Please contact Camden County's EMA office if you have any questions or need additional information about hurricane season preparedness. Thank you for your time.
Sincerely, Camden County Board of County Commissioners & Mark Crews, EMA Director
|Emergency Management Agency (EMA) Contact Information|
Mark Crews, Director
131 North Lee Street
Kingsland, Georgia 31548