WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), through its Caribbean Area Office in Puerto Rico, is closely monitoring Tropical Storm Isaac and is in close coordination with emergency management officials in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The National Weather Service has issued a hurricane watch and tropical storm warning for both Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. FEMA and its federal partners urge residents of the commonwealth and territory to closely monitor the storm and to follow the direction of local officials as potential severe weather approaches.
In advance of the storm, FEMA proactively deployed Incident Management Assistance Teams to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands to coordinate with commonwealth/territory and local officials, should additional support be requested, or needed. Additionally, FEMA has liaisons in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands emergency operations centers, to further strengthen coordination. These assets supplement federal resources and personnel that are staged, year-round, at FEMA's Caribbean Area Office and Caribbean Area Distribution Center located in Puerto Rico. Other teams have been identified and will be mobilized as needed and requested.
"FEMA, along with the entire federal family, is closely monitoring Tropical Storm Isaac and coordinating with our commonwealth and territorial partners that could potentially be affected by this storm. We strongly encourage residents to listen to the instructions of their local officials," said FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate. "For residents in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands who may be affected by this storm as early as Thursday, in some areas, it's critical that you take this storm seriously and take steps now to prepare your families, homes and businesses. Visit Ready.gov or Listo.gov to learn how."
FEMA encourages everyone, regardless of whether they live in a hurricane-prone area, to take steps to ensure their family, homes and businesses are prepared for a possible emergency. Important items to have ready in case of an emergency include a battery-powered radio (like a NOAA Weather Radio), flashlight, extra batteries, medicines, non-perishable food, hand-operated can opener, utility knife and first aid supplies. Important documents, such as medical records, contracts, property deeds, leases, banking records, insurance records and birth certificates should be copied and kept in a safe place.
As is always the case, local officials make decisions on issuing evacuation orders, so FEMA advises residents to remember to listen to the direction of their local officials, and to learn where evacuation routes and sheltering locations are located, in case evacuation orders are given.
At this time, it is still too early to know whether the storm could pose an immediate threat to the U.S. Coast. History shows that storm tracks can change quickly and unexpectedly, so FEMA encourages coastal residents to monitor weather conditions, follow the direction of local officials, and visit Ready.gov to learn about a few simple steps they can take now to be prepared.
FEMA's mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.