Hurricane Season is upon us. Last week the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Climate Prediction Center increased the likelihood of an above-average Atlantic hurricane season to 45% (up from 30% from the outlook issued in May).
This warning means it’s more likely we will see much more serious storms, including 10-17 Named Storms, 5-9 of which will be Hurricanes and between 2 and 4 of those will be Major Hurricanes. Hurricane season begins on June 1st and continues through November 30th. I am urging all of you to be prepared for this hurricane season by reviewing your emergency plans and stocking up on necessary supplies.
While it has been several years since we have experienced a strong storm, our area has seen the devastating effects of hurricanes Floyd, Irene and Sandy in the past. I ask you all to be diligent as we enter the height of hurricane season and consider purchasing a generator for your home if you don’t already have one.
Our Office of Fire and Emergency Services is stressing the importance of individual preparedness by sharing this precautionary advice:
- Review and practice your household disaster plan with all family members. Know how to contact all family members at all times. Identify an out-of-town friend or family member to be the “emergency family contact” then make certain all family members have that number. Designate a family emergency meeting point; some familiar location where the family can meet in the event the home is inaccessible.
- Prepare a written emergency phone list of people and organizations that may need to be called. Include children’s schools, doctors, child/senior care providers and insurance agents.
- Ensure that enough non-perishable food, and water supplies are on hand. Make sure battery-operated radios and flashlights are available and have an ample supply of batteries and test them regularly. Have a first aid kit available and make sure there is an ample supply of medicines on hand for those who require them. Ensure your cell phone is kept charged and have a charging cable available.
- Check on friends and neighbors that may need help. Especially elderly and mobility impaired.
- Know the hurricane and storm risks in your area, be knowledgeable of storm surge history and elevation. Learn your community’s warning signals and evacuation plans and review safe routes inland and local sheltering plans.
- If you have a generator, please use it according to the manufacturer’s instructions and follow all applicable codes when hooking it up. Never run a generator indoors, close to windows or in an attached or detached garage. Also, please use care when refueling it and never fill a hot generator.
- Make arrangements on where to relocate pets during a storm and check for any shelters that are pet friendly.
- Store important documents – insurance policies, medical records, bank account numbers, Social Security cards, etc. – in a waterproof container and make copies. Also, have cash (in small bills), checkbook, credit and ATM cards readily available.
If you have specific questions you can contact the Office of Fire and Emergency Services at 845-364-8800.
The time to prepare for a Hurricane or any possible disaster is right now, before it becomes an emergency. You and your family should take this time to determine what you need if you have to shelter-in-place without power or if you have to evacuate your home on short notice. It’s important to be ready for whatever Mother Nature is going to throw at us.