May 29th, 2007 08:32 EST
Hurricane Season Begins - FEMA Urges Personal Preparedness and Responsibility
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Fortunately last year’s hurricane season proved uneventful. However, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) wants residents living in hurricane prone areas not to be caught off guard for this year’s season. The agency urges residents to prepare now for their personal safety and survival so they are ready in case a hurricane threatens their community. June 1 is the start of hurricane season and a good time to begin preparing before a storm threatens.
“Being prepared is everyone’s responsibility” said FEMA Administrator R. David Paulison. “As the nation’s emergency management agency, FEMA has to prepare for and respond to all hazards. The start of hurricane season is a reminder and an opportunity to exercise your personal responsibility for your safety by taking the necessary precautions before disaster strikes.”
Start preparing your disaster kit now and discuss what to do with you family in the event of a hurricane. Take these following precautions:
Prepare a disaster kit for your home: Stock up on non-perishable food and water to sustain you and your family for up to 72 hours or longer. Ensure you have important papers (e.g. insurance, identification), first aid kit, a supply of prescription medicines and other specialty items in your preparedness kit. In addition, plan to have an emergency kit for your car in case you need to evacuate. While creating a disaster kit, pet owners should remember to pack the necessary items for their pets.
You can find more information on preparing your disaster kit at: www.ready.gov/america/getakit/index.html
Create an emergency plan: Know what to do if you have to evacuate. Make sure you know how to contact members of your family and have an emergency contact number for someone out of state who knows where you are in the event of an emergency. Make sure your pet is included in your emergency plan. You may want to offer assistance to an elderly or disabled family member or neighbor that may be alone and may need your help during an emergency. Make your plans ahead of time and practice them.
Be informed: Know evacuation routes, and listen to local authorities when asked to evacuate. Everyone should know their risks. Whether you live in a coastal community or inland, speak with your insurance agent now about flood insurance and review your home owner’s policy. Every state is at risk for flooding and homeowners insurance does not cover flood damage. Flood insurance is a cost-effective way to financially prepare for floods. To learn more about your risk and flood insurance, visit www.floodsmart.gov.
People who live in manufactured housing also should be aware of their risk during a storm as well as the many who are still residing in FEMA travel trailers and mobile homes. People should have disaster plans and be ready to vacate their residence when advised by local authorities.
To stay informed during a storm keep a battery-powered radio for weather and evacuation information should you experience a power outage and have extra batteries on hand.
Get involved. Contact your local Citizen Corps Council to learn what efforts your community is taking to prepare for hurricane season, and learn how you can help. Through the Councils and Citizen Corps Partner Programs, it is possible to receive training in basic emergency response and find volunteer opportunities to assist your first responders in an emergency. To find a nearby Citizen Corps Council or to learn more about Citizen Corps' Partner Programs, visit www.citizencorps.gov.
For more information on how to prepare for this hurricane season, please visit “Get Ready 07” at www.fema.gov. There, you will find a comprehensive listing of information on family and business preparedness, disaster support links for people with disabilities and other special needs, and tips for preparing your pets for the next disaster.
FEMA coordinates the federal government’s role in preparing for, preventing, mitigating the effects of, responding to, and recovering from all domestic disasters, whether natural or man-made, including acts of terror.