Today, I joined our partners at the National Hurricane Center to release the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s outlook for the upcoming Atlantic hurricane season (June 1- November 30). Even though the season “officially” starts next week, we have already seen the first named storm, Alberto, develop in the Atlantic. Alberto serves as an invaluable reminder: as much as we can try to predict, nature and disasters will inevitably throw the unexpected our way.
While we can’t stop a tropical storm, hurricane, earthquake or other natural disaster from happening, there are actions we can all take to lessen the impact these unexpected events can have on our families, homes and businesses. Whatever the risks are in your area (especially those where hurricanes/tropical storms can have an impact), I encourage you to visit Ready.gov to learn about the three simple steps to getting prepared before an emergency. But maybe you already know the risks in your area, have already assembled a family emergency supply kit or recently reviewed your family’s emergency plan – then you can play a part in taking preparedness to the next level. Join us by pledging to prepare for emergencies and telling three of your relatives, friends, coworkers, or social media followers to do so as well.
The upcoming three day weekend could be a great opportunity to practice and share emergency preparedness. Here are a few ideas:
- If you will be in an area potentially impacted by hurricanes or tropical storms, review and talk about NOAA’s 2012 outlook for the season. Make sure friends and family know if they live in an evacuation zone and what their evacuation route is, in case local officials should give the order.
- Before you head out for weekend travel, make sure your car or truck has emergency supplies, like blankets, water, an AM/FM radio, jumper cables, and a flash light with extra batteries. Then when you get to your destination, show it off to family and friends!
- If you’re traveling by airplane, keeping a small first aid kit, flashlight, medication and extra cell phone charger with you could prove useful if your flight is delayed. (Other passengers could add these items to their carry-on luggage the next time they fly if they see you using your kit.)
- During the day off, take a few minutes fill a “go-bag” with emergency supplies. Many of the items are probably already be around your home, then add any additional needed items to our family’s grocery list for the week.
- Take 10 minutes with your family and practice your fire escape plan. After you’re done, posting a photo or status update to your social media accounts is a great way to spread the word and remind others to do the same.
And if you’re looking for more ideas or others ways people and organizations around the country are getting prepared for hurricane season, then you’re in luck. Next week is National Hurricane Preparedness Week, so FEMA and our partners will be talking about hurricane and tropical storm preparedness all week long on our blog, Twitter feed, Facebook page, and other online channels. So make a point to post your own updates about preparing for severe tropical weather, or you can even repost one from our sites!
I hope either of these three - the NOAA hurricane season outlook, upcoming three day weekend, or National Hurricane Preparedness Week – can act as starters for making your family, home, or business more prepared for emergencies as we move into the “official” hurricane season.