Augusta leaders update the community on Irma preparations

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF)– The City of Augusta leaders urge the community to take precautions as Irma nears. The city held a press conference Sunday to update us on Hurricane Irma Preparations.

There are 2,500 evacuees taking shelter in Richmond County.

“We need to be prepared and not take this lightly. We don’t know what will happen,” Commissioner Dennis Williams said.

As evacuees are making their way to the Garden City, many are seeing “shelter full” signs. The ten shelters in Richmond County are already full, but the city has teamed with surrounding counties to ensure no one is turned away.

“At this time we are guiding any other evacuees to Patriot’s Park until that one is full. Then we will identify another shelter after that when we receive word that Patriot’s Park is filled,” Chief Christopher James with the Augusta Fire Department explained.

There will not be a shortage of shelters, but city officials are concerned about a lack of resources and people to staff shelters.

Evacuees need bath towels, wash cloths, soap, flip flops, soap, shower shoes, no-slip socks, unopened packages of Tylenol, Ibprofen, tums, cough drops, lotion, childrens’ diapers, large and extra large adult diapers and sweat suits.

“All of those items will be collected at 2163 Central Avenue, which is the old fire station we had on Central Avenue. We are asking all the citizens to take the donations there,” Chief James said.

Bringing items directly to shelters clogs the system. Everyone will be directed to that centralized donation center.

“Based on the last situation we had, Augustans really showed how they cared. And people still do that because Augustans have that type of heart,” Commissioner Williams said.

As for pets, they are in tight headquarters: “They are still being housed at Matt Lane. They have had to double up,” Chief James said.

“Augusta is a safe place. People know we will treat them nicely in our community, and we will do the best that we can to make sure that they have a comfortable stay, if you can have a comfortable stay at a shelter,” Commissioner Williams said.

In addition to the ten shelters, Richmond County is opening severe weather centers for Richmond County residents experiencing high winds so they will have a safe place to stay, especially those in mobile homes. The centers are opening Sunday night at 8.


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