Augusta Fire/EMA preparing shelters for coastal evacuees

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Saturday, August 31, 2019
News 12 at 11

Hurricane Dorian is now a monster category 4 storm with maximum sustained winds of 140 MPH. (Source: WRDW)

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- Augusta is a partner community for coastal evacuations, so if there is an evacuation order, people from Chatham County, which includes Savannah, would come to shelters here.

As of now we haven't seen panic set in locally when it comes to grabbing gas and water before places sell out, but some hardware stores like Harbor Freight say they've been selling a lot of generators. With the hurricane continuing to change paths some counties are now looking to open shelters.

"We're headed back to Atlanta before hurricane Dorian passes through," Kathy Wherry said.

Some families are staying put, stocking up on gas, food and water.

"Yes, just to stay in the house, go to the store and get the water, the eggs and just stay put basically," Kathy said.

Others are traveling to the west coast or north to escape the eye of the storm. After a visit to South Carolina Kathy Wherry is heading away from the path of the hurricane and back to Atlanta. She says it sounds likely they'll have some evacuees taking cover in Atlanta.

"I live close to the Atlanta Motor Speedway and I heard on the news that they were opening up the grounds for people to come without a charge and that's awesome," Kathy said.

All over the south, EMA and Red Cross are prepping to open shelters.

"That's what we do here in the south," Kathy said.

As a partner community for coastal evacuations Augusta is keeping a close eye on Hurricane Dorian. Augusta Fire/EMA say they are starting preparations for sheltering at Westside High School in anticipation for evacuees as early as Sunday.

Kathy says it's during times of the unknown that we need to lend a helping hand.

"I always donate with my church and do whatever I can to help out," Kathy said.

Red Cross says Aiken County and other Georgia counties are on standby to help as well. They're waiting on the green light to open more shelters

"Everyone lets stick together and be a good service to one another and look out for each other," Kathy said.

Fire Chief James says he will give an update on operations of the shelter in Richmond County tomorrow afternoon at Westside High sShool.

Another good way to keep up with where you can find shelters nearest to you is downloading the app for South Carolina Emergency Manger: CLICK HERE.

You can also find shelters open on a Red cross shelter map: CLICK HERE.

Also for displaced residents Airbnb is now offering free housing options through their "open homes program." The program has been activated in Georgia and South carolina. FIND HOUSING OR OFFER UP YOUR HOME HERE.

Saturday, August 31, 2019

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- Augusta Fire and EMA says they have been preparing shelters for coastal evacuees due to Hurricane Dorian.

Augusta is a partner community for coastal evacuees, so they say they have spent the week preparing for sheltering operations by assessing facility readiness, staffing levels, and supplying orders to ensure Augusta is ready when the call comes to evacuate.

They say now that the National Hurricane Center’s forecast for Hurricane Dorian brings it off the coast of Georgia, they anticipate that they may receive notice that Augusta could have evacuees from the coast as early as tomorrow.

“We’ve been watching every update from the National Hurricane Center hoping Dorian would not have an impact in the Southeast,” said Chief Christopher James, Fire Chief and EMA Director.

Augusta Fire and EMA says they're also monitoring impacts to Augusta from Hurricane Dorian.

“It is possible for us to see high winds and heavy rain, depending on the continued path of Hurricane Dorian," Fire Chief James said. "We have safe shelters identified for Richmond County residents if conditions worsen. This is especially important for families living in mobile homes.”

If you have not signed up for emergency alerts, you can download the CodeRed the app on your phone or text “Augusta” to 99411 to start the sign up process.