FEMA preparing for worst as Matthew spins towards mainland

Josh Batkin, Director of External Services at FEMA, says the agency has already deployed assets...
Josh Batkin, Director of External Services at FEMA, says the agency has already deployed assets and resources to the southeast as they prepare for the worst. (GRAYDC)
Published: Oct. 6, 2016 at 3:45 PM EDT

With Hurricane Matthew moving closer to the United States mainland, federal agencies are trying to keep Americans calm and prepared. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is putting its resources in place.

"Are you willing to take a chance to risk your life?" said Governor Rick Scott (R-FL) during a press conference earlier Thursday.

The time to mince words is over. FEMA officials say it has been awhile since there's been a storm of this magnitude and that people should be concerned and paying attention.

"The bad news is we have a significant storm just off our coast heading in our direction. The good news is, we still have time to take actions to be better prepared for it," said Josh Batkin, Director of External Affairs for FEMA.

Batkin says FEMA has sent teams to Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina, all four under states of emergency.

He says FEMA is hoping for the best but planning for the worst. They’ve moved resources and assets down the southeast coast, but they also have resources across the country on standby.

"We try to make sure we have folks on the ground and ready to go if they’re needed, and then we’ll adjust depending on the impacts and which state might need more resources," said Batkin.

The biggest piece of advice from FEMA is that citizens should listen to state and local authorities.

"There are no excuses," said Governor Scott. "You need to leave."

"It’s really important to remember the first responder is the individual," said Batkin. "It’s us. It’s you and me."

Batkin says FEMA will remain in constant contact with the National Weather Service, The White House, and state and local authorities until the storm is over.