2008-06-06 / Community

FEMA Advises On Hurricane Protection

Hurricane Season 2008 began last week, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) wants residents living in hurricane prone areas to get serious and be prepared now. The agency cited the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's May 22 prediction that projected climate conditions point to a near normal or above normal hurricane season in the Atlantic Basin this year. The first named storm of the season, Tropical Storm Arthur, developed late Friday and moved slowly across the Yucatan this weekend and FEMA is reminding people that preparing for hurricanes is a shared responsibility.

"Individuals also must prepare themselves for a hurricane," said FEMA Administrator David Paulison. "Americans in hurricane-prone states must get serious and be prepared. Government - even with the federal, tribal, state and local governments working perfectly in sync - is not the entire answer. Everyone is part of the emergency management process."

"We must continue to develop a culture of preparedness in America in which every American takes personal responsibility for his or her own emergency preparedness."

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

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 homeowner'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 prepare financially for floods. To learn more about your risk and flood insurance, visit www.floodsmart.gov.

Inland states often receive damaging flooding as a result of hurricanes so even residents who don't live in a coastal state should prepare. Knowing your flood risk, emergency evacuation plans and purchasing flood insurance are all things that inland residents should plan for as part of their hurricane preparations.

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-provided 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 "Hurricane Season 08. Get Serious. Be Prepared" 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.

Get Serious. Be Prepared.

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.

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