As Hurricane Irma approaches the U.S., Pembroke officials are “preparing for the worst and hoping for the best” and urging residents to the do the same.
“[Hurricane] Matthew taught us that early planning is good, so we’re planning early” Pembroke Public Safety Director William Collins said Tuesday. City officials met Tuesday morning to go over possible scenarios for Hurricane Irma’s approach. As of Wednesday morning Irma was a Category 5 storm nearing Puerto Rico.
“We believe we might have some impact from the storm … but we really don’t have a great grasp on that right now (due to the uncertainty of the storm’s path),” Collins said. “So what we do when we don’t have great grasp? We prepare for the worst and hope for the best.”
Collins recommended that residents prepare themselves for a hurricane even if Irma ends up not being a threat.
“For the public: Get your hurricane kits together now,” he said. “I would just encourage (the public) to be ready, be prepared. And make sure we understand what our parents and our elderly friends are doing and make sure we help everyone we can.”
Collins also urged residents to include their pets and animals in their hurricane plans and noted that livestock left in an evacuation situation be tagged with owner information.
“Please think of your pets and animals. Take care of your animals. Board them, take them. If you have cows, horses … make sure they have food,” he said.
But should the hurricane head this way, Collins said everyone should be ready to evacuate.
“If it’s going to be a strong hurricane, I would suggest – strongly – that everyone that can leave – leave,” Collins said.
“I’m not totally convinced that we’ll have a serious situation yet, but we are preparing to make sure we’re ready in case we do.”
Collins explained that all departments are planning and preparing for possible impact by ensuring that the facilities are sound and have all the supplies on hand that might be needed in a disaster situation.
“We’re looking to make sure that all of our facilities are in good shape: things are tied down, vehicles are fueled up, generators are ready to go ... All the departments are doing those kinds of things,” he said.
Collins said the police department is making plans for evacuation contingencies and the fire department is focusing on search and rescue preparations.
“All the things we went through last year, we’re trying to at least discuss it beforehand this year. And just make sure that we’re all ready for the storm,” he said.