Monday the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) urged residents across the nation to prepare for the 2015 Atlantic Hurricane season, which begins today and runs through November 30.
“Hurricanes and tropical systems can cause serious damage on both coastal and inland areas,” FEMA said in its announcement. “Their hazards can come in many forms including: storm surge, heavy rainfall, inland flooding, high winds and tornadoes. To prepare for these powerful storms, FEMA is encouraging families, businesses and individuals to be aware of their risks; know your sources of reliable information; prepare your home and workplace; and be familiar with evacuation routes.
“One hurricane hitting where you live is enough to significantly disrupt your life and make for a very bad hurricane season,” said FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate. “Every person has a role to play in being prepared – you should know if you live or work in an evacuation zone and take time now to learn that route so you’re prepared to protect yourself and your family from disaster.”
This year, FEMA said it “is placing an emphasis on preparing communities to understand the importance of evacuations, which are more common than many people realize. When community evacuations become necessary, local officials provide information to the public through the media. In some circumstances, other warning methods, such as, text alerts, emails, or telephone calls are used. Information on evacuation routes and places to stay is available at www.ready.gov/evacuating-yourself-and-your-family.
Additionally, knowing and practicing what to do in an emergency, in advance of the event, can make a difference in the ability to take immediate and informed action, and enable you to recover more quickly. To help communities prepare and enhance preparedness efforts nationwide, FEMA is offering two new products.
- FEMA launched a new feature to its App, available for free in the App Store for Apple devices and Google Play for Android devices. The new feature enables users to receive weather alerts from the National Weather Service for up to five locations anywhere in the United States, including U.S. territories, even if the mobile device is not located in the weather alert area. The app also provides information on what to do before, during, and after a disaster in both English and Spanish.
- The Ready campaign and America’s PrepareAthon developed a social media toolkit that you can download and share with others at www.ready.gov/ready2015. The kit contains information on actions communities can take to practice getting ready for disasters.
While much attention is often given to the Atlantic Hurricane Season, there are tropical systems that can affect other U.S. interests as well. The Eastern Pacific Hurricane Season runs from May 15 through November 30. The Central Pacific Hurricane Season runs from May 15 to November 30. To learn more about each hurricane season and the geographical areas they may affect, visit www.noaa.gov.
Additional tips and resources:
- Learn how to prepare for hurricane season at www.ready.gov/hurricanes;
- Talk with your family today about how you will communicate with each other during a significant weather event when you may not be together or during an evacuation order. Download the family communications at www.ready.gov/family-communications;
- For information on how to create an emergency supply kit, visit www.ready.gov/build-a-kit;
- Consider how you will care for pets during an evacuation by visiting www.ready.gov/caring-animals;
- Use the Emergency Financial First Aid Kit (EFFAK) to identify your important documents, medical records, and household contracts. When completing the kit, be sure to include pictures or a video of your home and your belongings and keep all of your documents in a safe space. The EFFAK is a joint publication from Operation Hope and FEMA. Download a copy at www.ready.gov/financial-preparedness; and
- If you own or manage a business, visit for specific resources on response and continuity planning: www.ready.gov/business.
The National Weather Service proactively sends free Wireless Emergency Alerts, or WEAs, to most cell phones for hurricanes, tornadoes, flash flooding and other weather-related warnings. State and local public safety officials may also send WEAs for severe or extreme emergency conditions. If you receive a Wireless Emergency Alert on your cell phone, follow the instructions, take protective action and seek additional information from local media. To determine if your wireless device can receive WEA alerts contact your wireless carrier for more information or visit: www.ctia.org/WEA.
Meanwhile, Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), ranking member of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, wrote FEMA Administrator Fugate requesting information on FEMA’s efforts to help states and communities across the country prepare for and respond to extreme and catastrophic weather events, including hurricanes. In his letter, Carper underscored the importance of preparedness and resilience efforts to mitigate the increasingly costly impacts of extreme weather events.
"Our nation’s ability to withstand and recover from devastating storms such as Hurricane Katrina and Superstorm Sandy depends on communities being prepared and resilient,” Carper wrote. “Assistance from the FEMA is critical to ensuring that states, such as my home state of Delaware, are prepared for and can recover from these kinds of disasters. As our country debates how to address our changing climate and the extreme weather it is causing, one thing is clear: the increase in intensity of extreme weather events is costing our country tremendously – not only in lives impacted – but also in economic terms. We can no longer afford to ignore the impacts these weather events are having on federal spending,”
Continuing, Carper wrote, “A little extra planning – combined with prudent, targeted investments – can go a long way in saving both lives and taxpayers dollars. I believe this is a perfect example of that very wise maxim, ‘an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.’ The federal government must be a partner in this effort.”