|Important Phone Numbers|
Camden County Emergency Operations Center
American Red Cross, Local
American Red Cross, Savannah
In emergencies for Police, Fire, or Medical
Georgia Emergency Management Agency
|Connect With Us|
Camden County Government utilizes its social media networks to post emergency notifications to its followers.
|A Message from Your County Government|
Although Georgians have not taken a direct strike by a hurricane on our coast in recent years, residents statewide are still at risk of indirect severe impacts should a storm make landfall anywhere in our region. With the Atlantic hurricane season starting on June 1, the Georgia Emergency Management Agency (GEMA) urges residents to take the time now to prepare, plan and stay informed about hurricanes.
As a coastal state, and especially as a coastal county, storms that form in the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico have the potential to bring storm surge, high winds, tornadoes and inland flooding across Georgia. In an effort to educate residents on these potential hazards, GEMA's Ready Georgia campaign supports State and Local Hurricane Preparedness.
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, provided by the Camden County Board of County Commissioners.
|Emergency Management Agency|
The Emergency Management Agency is 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?
Camden County is designated as a StormReady Community by the National Weather Service.
StormReady communities are better prepared to save lives from the onslaught of severe weather through advanced planning, education and awareness.
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. 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.
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 Mark Crews, EMA Dirctor, what he thinks of the forecast for the upcoming season. His 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 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 hurricane forecast for 2016 is for 12 named storms (35 mph+ winds). Out of those, 6torms may become hurricanes (74 mph+ winds) and 3 may reach major hurricane intensity (111 mph+ winds of Category 3 strength and higher).
The emergency preparedness measures that you take in preparing for any severe weather event will greatly increases your family's chances for survival. Personal preparedness is everyone's responsibility. The better prepared we are as individuals increases our chances of survival and enables us to assist others.
Preparing for Hurricanes
The Ready Georgia website, www.ready.ga.gov, allows users to create a personalized Ready kit checklist and communications plan, making it simple to take those first steps toward being prepared. There is also detailed information about hurricane-related hazards, as well as tips on how to protect your home and find local evacuation routes. For preparedness on the go, families can also download Ready Georgia's free mobile app. During hurricane season, Ready Georgia advises:
Prepare for Hurricanes
- Compile a portable Ready kit of emergency supplies in case you have to evacuate.
- Familiarize yourself with the terms that are used to identify a hurricane. A hurricane watch means a hurricane is possible in your area. A hurricane warning means a hurricane is expected in your area. If local authorities advise you to evacuate, leave immediately.
- Prepare to secure your property.
- Cover all of your home's windows with pre-cut plywood or hurricane shutters to protect your windows from high winds and keep all trees and shrubs well-trimmed.
Plan to Evacuate
- Plan how you will leave and where you will go if you are advised to evacuate.
- Information on Georgia evacuation routes may be found at Georgia Navigator. Download the Georgia Department of Transportation's Hurricane Season Safety Information brochure and print a copy for your evacuation Ready kit. Use it as a reference for traffic procedures and information in the event of an evacuation.
- Identify several places you could go in an emergency: a friend's home in another town or a motel. For more information about public shelters in your community, contact your local emergency management agency. A list of open shelters can be found on GEMA's website or on the Ready Georgia mobile app.
- Be familiar with alternate routes and other means of transportation out of your area.
- Local authorities may not immediately be able to provide information on what is happening and what you should do. However, you should listen to NOAA Weather Radio, watch TV, or check the Internet often for official news and instructions as they become available.
- Be alert for tornadoes and flooding. If you see a funnel cloud or if local authorities issue a tornado warning, take shelter underground or in an interior room away from windows. If waters are rising quickly or local authorities issue a flood or flash flood warning, seek higher ground.
- Stay away from downed power lines to avoid the risk of electric shock or electrocution.
- Do not return home until local authorities say it is safe. Even after the hurricane and after flood waters recede, roads may be weakened and could collapse. Buildings may be unstable, and drinking water may be contaminated. Use common sense and exercise caution.
For more information on preparing for hurricanes and other severe weather, contact your Camden County EMA or visit www.ready.ga.gov or www.gema.ga.gov.
Are You Covered?
The start of hurricane season is a good time to review your insurance coverage. Even though disaster relief funds may be available to homeowners after a major catastrophe, these funds a very limited and only apply to specific necessities. In most cases the relief is in the form of a loan that must be paid back. Your best option to ensure that you can recover from a disaster is to make sure you are properly covered by insurance.
This would be a good time to make sure that your policy matches your needs. Each year you should review the contents of your home to make sure that you have properly documented and included new items in you policy. You may want to discuss any additions to your home or contents with your agent to ensure that your policy fully covers them. A good idea is to video record your home and contents and to provide a copy of this to your insurance provider. You may also check to see if you have replacement cost of major appliances as part of your coverage. Some policies will prorate your major appliances based on age and will only pay you what the appliances may be worth at the time of the loss.
If you rent or lease housing, then the property owner will have insurance that covers their losses. That coverage does not usually cover the tenant's personal property. Your personal possessions can be covered by renter's insurance offered by the normal insurance vendors. This type coverage typically only covers the contents that you personally own, however it would be best to discuss your options with a licensed insurance agent.
Most homeowners insurance does not cover flood damage. If you live in a Special Flood Hazard Area or high-risk area and have a federally backed mortgage, your mortgage lender requires you to have flood insurance. If you are not required to and do not have flood insurance, consider these points:
- Just an inch of water can cause costly damage to your property.
- Hurricanes, and winter storms are common (but often overlooked) causes of flooding.
- New land development can increase flood risk, especially if the construction changes natural runoff paths.
- Federal disaster assistance is usually a loan that must be paid back with interest. For a $50,000 loan at 4% interest, your monthly payment would be around $240 a month ($2,880 a year) for 30 years. Compare that to a $100,000 flood insurance premium, which is about $400 a year ($33 a month).
- If you live in a moderate-to-low risk area and are eligible for the Preferred Risk Policy, your flood insurance premium may be as low as $129 a year, including coverage for your property's contents.
- It takes 30 days after purchase for a policy to take effect, so it's important to buy insurance before the floodwaters start to rise.
- In a high-risk area, your home is more than twice as likely to be damaged by flood than by fire.
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.
Camden County residents can 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.
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.
If you are unable to enroll via the internet you may contact Camden Emergency Management Agency at (912) 729-5602 for assistance in registering your home or business.
CodeRED Mobile Alert App Now Available
Download the CodeRED Mobile Alert App
on your Android phone to stay informed and aware of these fast moving storms in your area! The CodeRED Mobile Alert app taps into the national CodeRED® Emergency Notification System and alerts subscribers located within the reach of a given notification generated by public safety officials.
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
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.
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 108 Industrial Drive, Unit A, in St. Marys or call (912) 576-1461 or (912) 573-3939.
Before the Storm
Camden County is relatively flat and close to sea level which means a little bit of storm surge will go a long ways in causing wide spread flooding. Storm surge flooding and high winds accompanying hurricanes prevent Camden County's Emergency Management Agency (EMA) from being able to safely open shelters in Camden County prior to a tropical storm making landfall. County officials must be confident that a shelter would be a safe environment in which to house people during a tropical storm. EMA would also have to be sure that not only could the structure withstand hurricane force winds, but that EMA could provide support to the facility before, during and after the storm.
Even though EMA has identified some structures in Camden County that may stand up to hurricane force winds, most of these buildings are located in areas that would be flooded. Once a shelter is opened EMA would have to be able to provide food, water and medical services to the locations. After high winds and flooding rains associated with a hurricane, EMA most likely would not be able to get to the shelter facility due to fallen power lines and uprooted trees.
Since opening storm shelters in Camden County is not a safe alternative, EMA works closely with Georgia Emergency Management Agency (GEMA) to locate shelters in inland counties further from the coast. Shelter agreements change from one event to another. Even though EMA has tentative agreements with these inland counties, EMA still has to confirm the exact location prior to putting that information out. Once the shelter agreement is confirmed, the locations of these shelters would be made known to the public by posting them on EMA's website, as well as the GEMA website.
After the Storm
Once the threat of tropical weather has passed, if needed, EMA would open shelters as close to the affected areas as possible. EMA would first have to assess potential shelters to ensure they were not damaged in the storm. Once the site has been inspected and approved, the American Red Cross along with other volunteer organizations would open and man the shelters.
EMA's list of potential shelters are primarily larger church facilities. If during the normal school year, we would try to avoid using schools as shelters so that school children could get back to school as soon as possible.
Some things to keep in mind when considering a shelter include:
- Space per person is extremely limited.
- Privacy is almost non-existent.
- Showers generally are not available.
- Pets are not allowed in general population shelters.
Every effort should be made to ensure that you and your family have an evacuation plan that does not rely upon evacuation shelters. Hurricane evacuation shelters should be considered as a last resort when no other forms of lodging are available.
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 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.
Camden County Board of County Commissioners and EMA has incorporated a Crisis Code of Conduct into its emergency management resource guide to know precisely what values staff uses to guide and shape decisions in a crisis situation, such as a hurricane, in order to effectively and effeciently serve the community in response and recovery efforts.
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