Boston, MA, June 1, 2000 -- Last year the New England states had a near miss with Hurricane Floyd. June 1st marks the beginning of this year's Hurricane season, "an ounce of prevention and an emergency disaster plan can make the crucial difference in saving lives and reducing property damage ", says Setti D. Warren, Regional Director at the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Boston office.
New England is no stranger to hurricanes, coastal and tropical storms with their high winds and flooding. The "Perfect Storm" in October, 1991 came on the heels of Hurricane Bob and cost $22 million in disaster damages, from 1938 to 1991, New England has survived six major hurricanes that ranged in severity from category 2 to category 4. The amount of damage you can expect from a hurricane is directly linked to the wind velocity of the storm. Winds in an intense storm can reach a sustained velocity of more than 150 miles per hour (mph) with guts up to 200 mph.
In a comprehensive national poll by FEMA released in early May, findings showed that many of those most vulnerable to the devastation of hurricanes and related flooding underestimate their risk. The study showed that 77% of homeowners in the Northeast have not prepared a disaster supply kit, have not purchased flood insurance, and have not prepared a hurricane evacuation plan.
Thanks to modern technology and tracking systems, the National Weather Service can usually provide 12 to 24 hours of advance warning. Advisories are issued by the weather service of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) when hurricanes approach land.
" Residents should enter hurricane season prepared, because it's not IF a storm will strike BUT WHEN", advises Warren. Take simple steps to prepare your home and family such as:
- Prepare a disaster supply kit - Water for 3 days, food, first aid kit, medicine, glasses, tools, games for children, clothing and bedding.
- Check battery-powered equipment - flashlights, radio, cell-phones
- Have a car emergency kit - blanket, booster cables fire extinguisher, maps, shovel, tire repair kit, food and bottled water.
- Search your home for hazards - repair defective electrical wiring, trim trees, clean and repair chimneys, secure water heater and strap it to a wall.
- Learn CPR - Contact your local American Red Cross about classes.
- Make an escape plan - develop an evacuation plan with a place to meet or leave messages.
The next time disaster strikes, you may not have much time to act. Prepare now for a sudden emergency. Discuss these ideas with your family, then develop an emergency plan. Post the plan where everyone can see it-on a refrigerator or bulletin board.