PHILADELPHIA— FEMA Region 3 has deployed an Incident Management Assistance Team- 1 (IMAT-1) to support the Commonwealth of Virginia ahead of Hurricane Ian’s impact. The IMAT team will assist with the coordination of planning and response operations with the Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM).

IMATs are teams made up of logistics, operations, and planning experts who interact directly with the state and District emergency management personnel.

Residents are encouraged to take this time to prepare their families and homes should Hurricane Ian’s remnants cause a threat to the Commonwealth.

There are several steps families can take to be ready in an emergency including creating a plan, signing up for alerts and creating an emergency supply kit in your home.

“It is essential that we work together to help everyone respond to and recover from flooding,” said FEMA Region 3 Administrator MaryAnn Tierney. “Ensure you have emergency supplies on hand and are ready to evacuate if instructed to do so. If it is safe, check on neighbors who may require assistance. This includes individuals with infants and children as well as older adults, people with disabilities and others who may need help.”

Below you will find resources available to help you prepare and what to you should flooding happen where you are.

Prepare Now

• Now is the time to plan. It’s not too late to create a plan with your family. Visit Ready.gov/plan and use the new “Make A Plan” fillable form to make your plan and easily save an electronic copy to share with family members.

• Have several ways to receive alerts. Download the recently updated free FEMA App (available in English and Spanish) to receive real-time emergency alerts from the National Weather Service and find a nearby shelter.

• Manufactured homes are extremely vulnerable. If you live in a manufactured home, determine where you will go before the storm hits, as these types of structures may not withstand hurricane wind or surge damage.  

• Visit Ready.gov or Listo.gov to learn how you can keep yourself, your family and your pets safe. 

• Prepare or update your emergency supply kit. Your kit should include supplies you and your family would  need for several days, including prescription medications or special medical devices. Make sure you include any needed pet supplies. After a hurricane, you may not have access to these supplies for days or weeks.

• Check on neighbors. As you prepare your family and loved ones for a disaster, check on neighbors and folks in your community to see if they are doing the same or help them get started.

◦ People with access and functional needs, including older adults, may need extra assistance to prepare for the storm. For people with disabilities and their families, it is important to consider circumstances and needs to effectively prepare. Visit Individuals with Disabilities | Ready.gov to learn more.

◦ Determine if you need any special assistance before or after a storm. If you undergo routine treatments administered by a clinic or hospital, find out their emergency plans and work with them to identify back-up service providers.  

• Flood Insurance: Your National Flood Insurance Program policy will cover and reimburse certain actions you take to minimize damage to your home and belongings before a flood.

Flooding Tips

• Know what to do during floods.

◦ Listen to the radio, television, or your Weather Radio for information.

◦ If there is any possibility of a flash flood, move immediately to higher ground. Do not wait for instructions to move.

◦ If you must prepare to evacuate, you should do the following:

▪ Secure your home. If you have time, bring in outdoor furniture. Move essential items to an upper floor.

▪ Turn off utilities at the main switches or valves if instructed to do so. Disconnect electrical appliances. Do not touch electrical equipment if you are wet or standing in water.

▪ When you evacuate, do not walk through moving water. Six inches of moving water can make you fall. If you have to walk in water, walk where the water is not moving. Use a stick to check the firmness of the ground in front of you.

◦ If you’re driving;

▪ Do not attempt to drive through a flooded road. The depth of water is not always obvious. The road bed may be washed out under the water, and you could be stranded or trapped.

▪ Six inches of water will reach the bottom of most passenger cars causing loss of control and possible stalling.

▪ A foot of water can cause vehicles to float.

▪ Two feet of rushing water can carry away most vehicles including SUVs and pick-ups.

▪ If floodwaters rise around your car, abandon the car and move to higher ground, where water is not moving or is not more than a few inches deep. You and the vehicle can be swept away quickly. If your vehicle is trapped in rapidly moving water get out quickly and seek refuge on the roof.

▪ Do not drive around a barricade. Barricades are there for your protection. Turn around and go another way.

▪ Do not try to take short cuts. They may be blocked. Stick to designated evacuation routes.

▪ Be especially cautious driving at night when it is harder to recognize flood dangers.

▪ Do not camp or park your vehicle along streams, rivers or creeks, particularly during threatening conditions.