Be prepared. Stay off the roads. Be safe.
That’s the message that came from Atmore Police Chief Chuck Brooks Friday afternoon. At 2:30 Brooks held a meeting with the media, Mayor Jim Staff, Atmore Fire Chief Ron Peebles and Captain Daniel Love, Street Department Manager Calvin Grace, and APD Office Manager Samatha Bennett.
This was a 48-hour pre-storm meeting as required by FEMA.
Brooks said the city is ready. Fuel supplies for city vehicles have been checked. City personnel are on stand-by and could stay on duty as long as two days if needed.
Brooks said according to forecasts, we can expect high winds and a lot of rain.
Brooks asks the following of Atmore residents:
* Stay off the road. You will avoid putting other people (including first responders) in danger.
* Remain in your homes.
* If you feel your residence is not safe, start planning right now where you are going. “It’s not the time to plan when the storm starts,” Brooks said.
* Be patient with increased traffic through the city as areas south of Atmore, along the coast, evacuate. Brooks has contacted the Alabama Department of Transportation to assist state troopers in keeping traffic moving through town.
If the mayor determines that a shelter is necessary, Rachel Patterson Elementary School will be opened for that purpose. Atmore police will be present in the shelter around the clock. If it is open and you go to the shelter, note the following.
* You will be required to sign in. The APD will check for convicted felons.
* Bring enough food for you and your family to last three days.
* Bring all your medicines.
* NO firearms.
* NO alcohol.
* NO pets.
After the storm, Brooks said streets to Atmore Community Hospital will cleared first. Then highways 31 and 21 will be the next priority.
“There may be power lines, power poles and limbs down,” Brooks said. “Be patient until we get roadways clear.”
Mayor Staff said water in the city will not be a problem. Water towers are full and generators are operational.
“The time to prepare is right now,” Brooks said. “We don’t know what the storm is going to do when it gets in the Gulf. We don’t anticipate it will be like [Hurricane Ivan} but you never know … At this time, it’s wait and see. We just want everybody to be safe.”