It’s National Hurricane Preparedness Week…Are You Prepared?

It’s National Hurricane Preparedness Week and the American Red Cross has great tips and steps to use in order to prepare for the 2012  hurricane season.

Hurricane season officially begins this Friday, June 1st and lasts until November 30th.  This year we have already seen actvity from tropical storms Alberto and Beryl, which have grazed Southeastern shorelines. Luckily, both tropical storms subsided into tropical depressions shortly after development.  The Weather Channel experts predict this hurricane season to be rather mild. These predictions should not deter any of us from preparing for the worst.

Second named tropical storm of 2012, Beryl, brushes over the coastline of South Carolina and Georgia.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) recently predicted that this year’s hurricane season in the Atlantic could see nine to 15 named storms. Of these storms, four to eight could strengthen to a hurricane with winds of 74 mph or higher, with as many as three becoming major hurricanes with winds of 111 mph or higher.

“Any one of these predicted storms could become a serious threat to residents in coastal areas as well as hundreds of miles inland,”  said Charley Shimanski, senior vice president, Red Cross Disaster Services.  “We’re ready and we want people to know it’s important for them to get prepared too.”

RED CROSS PREPARED

Thousands of trained Red Cross disaster workers all over the country are ready to respond if needed. The Red Cross stocks items like s food, cots, blankets and other relief supplies in warehouses across the country – enough to support thousands of people needing shelter. Through partnerships and a variety of methods, the Red Cross has the ability to serve a million meals a day if needed. More than 61,000 shelter locations are identified, and hundreds of Red Cross emergency vehicles are ready to go into action.

Closing and boarding windows in your homes is recommended if you are in the impact zone of a storm. For more tips, visit Redcross.org.

WHAT YOU SHOULD DO

The Red Cross has useful preparedness steps to follow. These steps include:

  • Build an emergency kit with a gallon of water per person, per day, non-perishable food, a flashlight, battery-powered radio, first aid kit, medications, supplies for an infant if applicable, a multi-purpose tool, personal hygiene items, copies of important papers, cell phone chargers, extra cash, blankets, maps of the area and emergency contact information. Many of these items are available through the Red Cross Store.
  • Talk with members of your household and create an evacuation plan. Planning and practicing your evacuation plan minimizes confusion and fear during the event.
  • Be informed. Learn about your community’s hurricane response plan. Plan routes to local shelters, register family members with special medical needs as required and make plans for your pets to be cared for.
  • Because standard homeowners insurance doesn’t cover flooding, it’s important to have protection from the floods associated with hurricanes, tropical storms, heavy rains and other conditions that impact the U.S. For more information on flood insurance, please visit the National Flood Insurance Program Web site at www.FloodSmart.gov.

READY RATING™ TOOLS FOR BUSINESSES, SCHOOLS, ORGANIZATIONS

The Red Cross Ready Rating™ program helps businesses, schools and other organizations prepare for emergencies that can disrupt daily operations. Ready Rating™ offers specific steps that organizations can take to be better prepared. It includes a planning tool to help their employees or members know what their roles are in the early hours of an emergency, what their next steps are, and a resource center with tools that help businesses, employees and students develop and practice preparedness plans.

More information about this valuable program can be found at readyrating.org

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