By: Staff Reports | Gwinnett Citizen
Published: 2017-09-08 01:40

ATLANTA - Hurricane Irma, a potentially catastrophic Category 4 hurricane, is heading toward the Bahamas and Cuba before posing a serious threat to Florida and parts of the Southeast beginning this weekend.

Governor Nathan Deal has issued a State of Emergency ahead of Hurricane Irma for 30 counties in the state and a mandatory evacuation order for all areas east of I-95 along Georgia's coastline beginning at 8 a.m. Saturday.

As several of Georgia's southern regions prepare for potential severe weather associated with Hurricane Irma, the Red Cross is working alongside community partners to provide safe lodging. The Red Cross encourages anyone coming to an emergency shelter to bring personal items for each member of their family: prescription and emergency medications, extra clothing, pillows, blankets, hygiene supplies and important documents. It's also important to remember special items for children such as diapers, formula, toys and other items for family members who have unique needs.

Right now, Red Cross has several shelters scheduled to open tonight for those affected by Hurricane Irma with more on standby as needed for Georgians and those fleeing Irma from neighboring states.

SHELTER LOCATION SET TO OPEN

· Delores A. Brooks Recreation Center
(formerly known as the East Macon Recreation Center)
3326 Ocmulgee E Blvd, Macon, GA 31217

· North Macon Park Community Center
Address: 815 N Macon Park Dr., Macon, GA 31210

· First Baptist Church of Cuthbert: open at 2 p.m
Address: 567 College St, Cuthbert, GA 39840

· Westside High School: open at 5 p.m.
Address: 1002 Patriots Way, August, GA 30904

· Blackshear Trail Elementary: open at 6 p.m.
Address: 1001 Blackshear Road, Cordele, GA 31015

As powerful Hurricane Irma nears the United States and its territories the Red Cross in Georgia is urging people in the possible path of this storm to monitor weather reports and get prepared now.

The Red Cross has three steps people can follow:

· Build an emergency kit with a gallon of water per person, per day, non-perishable food, a flashlight, battery-powered radio, first aid kit, medications, supplies for an infant if applicable, a multi-purpose tool, personal hygiene items, copies of important papers, cell phone chargers, extra cash, blankets, maps of the area, and emergency contact information. 
· Talk with household members and create an evacuation plan. Be prepared to evacuate quickly and evacuate if told to do so. 
· Be informed. Learn about your community's hurricane response plan. Plan routes to local shelters, register family members with special medical needs as required and make plans for pets. If travel is in your plans, learn about how emergency situations are communicated at your destination.

DOWNLOAD EMERGENCY APPDOWNLOAD EMERGENCY APP With the threat of more potential severe weather, people should download the free Red Cross Emergency App to receive emergency alerts and information about what to do in case of tornadoes and other disasters, as well as locations of shelters. The App also includes emergency first aid information and a Family Safe feature which allows people to instantly see if loved ones are okay. The free Emergency App is available in app stores by searching for the American Red Cross or going to redcross.org/apps.

About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.