With the 2008 hurricane season set to begin June 1, NASA's John C. Stennis Space Center officials would like to remind area residents that now is the time to prepare for possible storms, which includes establishing shelter and evacuation plans.
As in previous years, Stennis is partnering with the American Red Cross during the upcoming storm season to maximize effectiveness of the facility and to keep it in line with Red Cross guidelines. Stennis is not equipped to be a primary shelter and only becomes a shelter 12 hours before the impact of any storm. The Red Cross will manage Stennis as a shelter of last resort with meager accommodations.
At a recent meeting of the Stennis Emergency Management Council, Stennis Space Center Director Bob Cabana urged everyone to have an evacuation plan. "Stennis is too close to the coast and surrounding waterways to be considered a primary evacuation point during a storm, and we are not equipped to deal with a large number of evacuees. I encourage everyone to evacuate to a destination safely away from here unless there is absolutely no other option. Only our emergency response team will remain at Stennis to monitor critical systems," Cabana said.
For those who must evacuate to Stennis, the following guidelines will be in place during the 2008 season:
- Employee families must be accompanied by a badged employee.
- Bring a minimum of three days of food, water, medicine and other essential personal items. The Stennis Space Center cafeteria and medical clinic will not be operational during the storm.
- Bring personal bedding, not to exceed single-size bedding; no large inflatable bedding is allowed.
- Evacuees must register with American Red Cross officials stationed at Stennis shelter buildings. Sign in at the reception desk so accurate records can be kept. This will also allow evacuees to be contacted if there is a message or inquiry about their safety. When leaving, please sign out as well.
- Mark/tag luggage and personal belongings and food containers. Stennis Space Center cannot assume responsibility for personal belongings.
- Parents are responsible for the whereabouts and activities of their children.
- For safety reasons, possession or use of alcohol or other potentially harmful substances in any part of the shelter is strictly prohibited. No firearms or flammable liquids are allowed. Prescribed medication should be noted on the registration card. No smoking is allowed inside the shelter.
- No pets or animals are allowed.
- If evacuees have a medical condition that may present a special problem, please notify the shelter nurse or other staff member. Such conditions should be noted on the registration card.
- Do not leave the shelter until notified that it is safe by a shelter official.
Immediately after the hurricane, the American Red Cross will make long-term shelters available for individuals who cannot return to their homes. Stennis will not operate as a long-term shelter.
For information about Stennis Space Center, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/centers/stennis/
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