WASHINGTON -- Today marks the official end to the 2021 Atlantic Hurricane Season, which produced 21 named storms, making it the third-most active Atlantic hurricane season on record. The severe impacts from climate change are lasting longer and stretching beyond traditional seasons. This means community preparedness efforts must be a year-round endeavor.
The 2020 FEMA National Household Survey found that only 48% of American households have disaster preparedness plans. This statistic underscores a common belief by many -- that their families and homes are immune from the impacts of a disaster, and so they fail to make plans until it is too late. However, the fact is that every community, every neighborhood, is vulnerable to experiencing severe weather. So ultimately, how well you prepare for a disaster today can significantly influence your ability to recover tomorrow.
“This past year, I traveled around the country and observed flooded streets and extensive debris in places like LaFourche, Terrebonne and St. Charles parishes, listened to heartbreaking stories of families who lost everything to wildfires and saw the remnants of homes torn apart by tornadoes that touched down in New Jersey as Hurricane Ida approached,” said FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell. “I was pained to see the devastation, and it strengthened my resolve that emergency preparedness cannot only be seasonal and must be a year-round activity.”
Individuals can take steps today to bolster their preparedness efforts by visiting Ready.gov and following simple recommendations such as:
- Make a Plan –Your family may not be together if a disaster strikes, so it is important to know which types of disasters could affect your area. Know how you’ll contact one another and reconnect if separated. Establish a family meeting place that’s familiar and easy to find.
- Know Your Evacuation Route – Get accustomed to alternate routes and other means of transportation out of your area.
- Follow Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) –These are short emergency messages from alerting authorities delivered to your mobile device. Check your mobile device settings to ensure that you are receiving emergency alert messages.
Individual preparedness is only one part of being ready for a disaster. FEMA will continue partnering with communities and state agencies to support mitigation activities and to ensure communities are strengthened to better withstand future catastrophic weather events. We will also continue to partner with local communities to set up shelters; broadcast communications that account for individuals who are blind, deaf, or hard of hearing; translate emergency lifesaving information into languages that are accessible by all Americans; and provide individual and public assistance to those who need help after a disaster.