Update: Resources, Preparations Underway for Hurricane Michael

Multiple areas prepared for the Category Four storm with resources from the American Red Cross, FEMA and other agencies.

10/10/2018 11:00 AM

Update: Resources, Preparations Underway for Hurricane Michael

A state of emergency is in effect in Florida due to Hurricane Michael, according to announcements from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the White House.

HHS Secretary Alex Azar declared a public health emergency in Florida following the announcement from the White House.

“Hurricane Michael poses a significant threat to the health and safety of those in its path,” Secretary Azar said. “These actions help ensure that our fellow Americans who rely on Medicare and Medicaid have continuous access to the care they need,” Azar said in news release.

Hurricane Michael intensified to a Category Four storm Wednesday, The Washington Post reports.

On Tuesday, the storm approached Florida’s Gulf Coast and neighboring states of Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina braced for another hit following the devastation caused last month when Hurricane Florence swept through the Carolinas. The American Red Cross and other agencies are  preparing emergency response plans as states of emergency have been declared in Alabama and in parts of Florida and Georgia, USA Today reports.

Agencies in the accounts receivable management industry may consider temporarily stopping or modifying collection activities associated with consumers in these states. Clients may have guidance for emergency communication expectations as collection efforts may be fruitless until consumers recover from the storm. Many debt collectors opt to suspend communication attempts until mail delivery and telephone service is available in disaster-stricken areas, Collector magazine editor Anne Rosso May recently reported. Read more tips on communication strategies during a disaster here.

HHS has additional resources on emergency preparedness available. The department and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) are coordinating emergency responses to evacuate hospitals and nursing homes, if needed.

The Federal Communications Commission is available to address emergency communications needs 24 hours a day, including throughout the weekend, especially relating to the effects of Hurricane Michael, according to a news release. The FCC is also providing regular communications updates for areas impacted by the storm and has multiple other resources available.

Visit the American Red Cross website for resources if you are in the path of the storm for tips on emergency plans and how to stay informed. If you are interested in helping, you can donate by calling (800) RED CROSS.

The American Red Cross also offers a website to find loved ones in areas affected by a disaster and to mark yourself “safe and well” if you are in those areas.

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