The best time to prepare for a hurricane is well before you hear warnings on the radio. Hurricane Preparedness Week, May 25-31, is a time to get ready for whatever comes your way when New England hurricane season hits June 1 through November 30.
In the last 15 years, hurricanes in the U.S. have caused more than 1,700 deaths. Together, the two costliest hurricanes in the continental U.S. – Hurricane Sandy (in 2012) and Hurricane Katrina (in 2005) – caused about $2 billion in damages. Often, the most we can do to ensure the best possible outcome after a hurricane is to prepare for one before it arrives.
Here are some things to note during this week of preparation:
- Learn about flood risks, flood maps, flood zones, and flood insurance with FloodSmart.
- Refer to the local emergency management director for storm risks particular to your neighborhood. Utilize resources such as information about evacuation zones and emergency kit preparation.
- Before a hurricane hits, get a sense of the terms meteorologists will use so you can easily follow their weather predictions.
- During the storm, use any available technology to monitor all media reports for real-time updates through the Emergency Alert System and Ping4Alerts on your smartphone.
- Take the time to create a family communications plan just in case you find yourselves separated after the hurricane.
- Call 2-1-1 (not 9-1-1) if you have questions or need information, and only travel when necessary.
- Dedicate enough time to prepare your home (and also your boat) for hurricanes before hurricane season begins.
- If you own a business in a hurricane zone, take advantage of the disaster preparedness resources that are available to businesses and organizations.
- Remember to plan what to do with pets during an emergency as well.
- Track an oncoming hurricane’s path to confirm the validity of your plans and evacuation route.
- Follow the National Hurricane Center’s season-long updates on hurricane-related news and warnings.
- Even if evacuation is not necessary, there may be damage following a hurricane. Prepare for power outages and explore response and recovery resources available, including debris management and recovery help for homeowners.
- The Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management (CZM) offers a handbook for homeowners living in coastal communities including information on how to protect yourself, your family, and your property.
- Groups and agencies like the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA), Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and the American Red Cross offer various hurricane preparation and post-storm tools such as preparation checklists and tips for the rebuilding process.
- Continue your hurricane season preparations with these kits and guides.
Preparing for a hurricane requires time and effort, but it will be well spent should a storm make its way to your section of the state. Remember to share these tips and tools to help make Hurricane Preparedness Week a success.
What are your hurricane preparedness tips? Share them by commenting below, or tweeting at @MassGov.
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