By: Tim Studebaker

CRANSTON, R.I. (WLNE) – All is quiet in the operations center at the Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency.  That's because our area is not under the gun, with no direct impacts expected from Hurricane Florence.  With that said EMA officials here know a thing or two about life during a big storm.

RI Emergency Management Agency Director Peter Gaynor says, “Our primary goal is to protect life and minimize damage to property, and we do that in a number of different ways.”

Their job starts before there's even the possibility of a storm.

Gaynor says, “You're preparing for the worst day.  So, you're doing planning, you're doing exercises, you're doing training.”

All that so the team will be ready as a storm like Florence approaches.

Gaynor says, “If you're the North Carolina director, or the South Carolina director, you have been working pretty hard to be sure that you are properly staffed, you're properly resourced.  You're trying to identify any gaps that you may have.”

Help with those gaps in staffing or equipment often comes from other states. 

As a storm gets closer, EMA officials may ask or tell people to evacuate.

Gaynor says, “The best way to prevent death and injury is to remove people from disaster or the risk.”

Gaynor tells us it's important not to ignore those evacuation orders, saying, “You have to realize that at some point, you are truly on your own, and the decision you made not to evacuate is on you.”

While we're not at risk during this storm, Gaynor says this is the time to prepare.

Gaynor says, “It's a matter of time before Rhode Island gets a hurricane or tropical storm or some other event where you're not prepared as a citizen.”

© WLNE-TV / ABC6 2018