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Meteorologist's image of a hurricane over the east coast of the United States.

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:

  1. Learn about flood risks, flood maps, flood zones, and flood insurance with FloodSmart.
  2. 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.
  3. Before a hurricane hits, get a sense of the terms meteorologists will use so you can easily follow their weather predictions.
  4. 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.
  5. Take the time to create a family communications plan just in case you find yourselves separated after the hurricane.
  6. Call 2-1-1 (not 9-1-1) if you have questions or need information, and only travel when necessary.
  7. Dedicate enough time to prepare your home (and also your boat) for hurricanes before hurricane season begins.
  8. If you own a business in a hurricane zone, take advantage of the disaster preparedness resources that are available to businesses and organizations.
  9. Remember to plan what to do with pets during an emergency as well.
  10. Track an oncoming hurricane’s path to confirm the validity of your plans and evacuation route.
  11. Follow the National Hurricane Center’s season-long updates on hurricane-related news and warnings.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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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