PROVIDENCE, R.I. - Governor Raimondo is working with emergency management officials from the Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency (RIEMA), Department of Health (RIDOH), Department of Environmental Management (RIDEM), State Police (RISP), Department of Transportation (RIDOT), and Division of Public Utilities and Carriers (RIDPUC) to prepare for Hurricane Joaquin as it moves its way up the Atlantic Coast.
"My number one priority through every storm is making sure Rhode Islanders are safe," said Raimondo. "As the state continues to monitor Hurricane Joaquin, I urge everyone to prepare. Now is an excellent time to go over your family's emergency communications plans and put together a disaster-supply kit. Please check the news and social media for updates, and make sure to take extra caution on the roads as the rain and winds continue over the next few days."
"We are currently monitoring the activities of Hurricane Joaquin," said Director Peter Gaynor. "We are working very closely with our state and local partners, as well as the National Weather Service and the National Hurricane Center, who have been providing us with updated hurricane models and forecasts around the clock. While the State Emergency Operations Center is not currently activated, we are in constant communications with our emergency operations partners and are fully prepared to activate when necessary. In the meantime, we will continue to promote and stress the importance of preparedness for Rhode Island citizens."
Below are safety tips from Rhode Island State Officials on how individuals, families, and businesses can be prepared for a tropical storm or hurricane:
• Gather a disaster-supply kit that includes water, food, flashlight, extra batteries, and NOAA Weather Radio.
• Develop a family communications plan in case you are separated during an emergency.
• Know your local emergency evacuation routes by visiting the RIEMA website at www.riema.ri.gov/prepare/evacuation.
• Take down any outdoor decorations and bring in lawn furniture.
• Clear leaves, sticks, and other debris from nearby storm drains in order to avoid clogging that could lead to street flooding.
• Visit www.riema.ri.gov to Register with CodeRed and receive free emergency notifications from local and state officials.
• Before a power outage, turn your refrigerator and freezer to the coldest setting.
• If your freezer is not full, put containers of water in the freezer to help keep contents cold for a longer period of time.
• Avoid opening refrigerator and freezer doors.
• Individuals should have several days' worth of prescription medications available.
• If you plan to use a generator to supply power during an outage, be sure to only operate it outdoors.
• People with life-sustaining medical equipment requiring electricity (such as a respirator) should contact their electricity provider and inform them of specific needs.
• Individuals with special healthcare needs should consider enrolling in the Rhode Island Special Needs Emergency Registry either online at www.health.ri.gov/emergency/about/specialneedsregistry or by calling 211.
• Be aware of severe weather alerts and exercise caution in forested or coastal areas where heavy wind and rains have the potential to cause branches, or even trees, to fall.
• Avoid standing on rocks along the shoreline during severe weather.
• Swells entering some inlets and harbor entrances could cause difficult navigation for operators of small craft.
• Boaters are advised to monitor weather forecasts and properly secure their boats.
• High winds and heavy rain make driving conditions treacherous. Do not drive in these conditions if possible. Move your vehicle to a safe area when parking.
• Allow additional time to arrive at your destination.
• Call *77 for impaired or erratic operators.
• Avoid downed power lines- do not attempt to driver over them. Stay in your vehicle and call 911.
• Do not attempt to drive through large bodies of standing water- often times they are deeper than they appear and can cause your vehicle to stop or shut down.
• Increase the distance between your car and the car in front of you to allow for the increased stopping distance necessary by wet roadways.
• The primary hazards to avoid when using a generator are carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning from the toxic engine exhaust, electric shock or electrocution, and fire.
• When a generator needs to be refueled, be sure to turn of the generator before refueling.
• Keep generators away from combustible materials.
• Motorists advised to monitor weather forecasts closely, and plan trips accordingly to conclude travel before conditions worsen. The less traffic there is on the road, the more quickly RIDOT crews can address emergencies.
• Make sure your vehicle is fueled up and you are ready to evacuate if recommended to do so.
• If you must travel during the storm, watch for downed power lines, debris in the roadway and non-functioning traffic signals.
• Never attempt to drive over a road that is flooded. It only takes two feet of water to carry away most vehicles and the depth may not be obvious at first glance.
• Have ready access to utility contact information to report outages and other emergency situations:
o National Grid - (800)-465-1212
o Pascoag Utility District - (401) 568-6222
o Block Island Power Co. - (401) 466-7754
o Remember to treat all downed utility lines as live and dangerous.
Hurricane Joaquin Forecast as of Oct 1, 2015, 12 PM:
There remains uncertainty in regards to the track of Hurricane Joaquin, which is currently a Category 3 hurricane with sustained winds of 125 mph, and is located along the Bahamas. Current projections from the National Weather Service predict Rhode Island to experience heavy rains, strong winds, and even some storm surge associated with Joaquin early next week. The track of this storm, which is widespread and uncertain at this time, will determine where the heaviest rainfall and winds will occur in the next several days.
Please monitor social media and the news media for continued updates:
For additional preparedness information and to stay up to date with the latest information on Hurricane Joaquin, visit RIEMA's website at www.riema.ri.gov.