Over the past few years, millions and millions of more Americans and the communities in which they live have been threatened by powerful hurricanes. During National Hurricane Preparedness Week, which runs May 26 through June 1, the American Red Cross urges families and individuals to get ready today for the storm season ahead.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) hurricane outlook predicts an above-normal Atlantic hurricane season this year with 13 to 20 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher) of which three to six could become major hurricanes (Category 3, 4 or 5 with winds of 111mph or higher).
“We urge everyone in high risk areas to take Hurricane Preparedness Week seriously,” said Trevor Riggen, vice president of Disaster Operations and Logistics for the Red Cross. “Communities from Louisiana to New York and New Jersey are still recovering from Hurricane Isaac and SuperStorm Sandy and serve as a powerful reminder that these storms are a threat, not only to southern Gulf states, but to the entire East Coast.”
While coastline residents are more often affected by large storm systems, it is also important to note that hurricanes can affect inland regions as well with strong winds, heavy rainfall and risk of tornadoes.
DOWNLOAD THE HURRICANE APP Before hurricane season begins on June 1, download the free Red Cross Hurricane App that puts real time information on hurricane safety at your fingertips.
The app features information on Red Cross shelters and a toolkit with a flashlight, strobe light and alarm. The one-touch “I’m Safe” button lets someone use social media outlets to tell family and friends they are okay. People across the country planning to travel to areas that could get hit with the storm can use the app to receive weather alerts.
The Hurricane App can be found in the Apple App Store and the Google Play Storefor Android by searching for American Red Cross. Learn more about Red Cross mobile apps.
PREPARE FOR HURRICANE SEASON TODAY While every hurricane season comes with uncertainty – when the next storm will come and where it will make landfall, residents can be certain they are prepared. Follow these Red Cross preparedness tips:
Build an emergency kit with a gallon of water per person, per day, non-perishable food, a flashlight, battery-powered radio, first aid kit, medications, supplies for an infant if applicable, a multi-purpose tool, personal hygiene items, copies of important papers, cell phone chargers, extra cash, blankets, maps of the area and emergency contact information. Many of these items are available through the Red Cross Store.
Talk with members of your household and create an evacuation plan. Planning and practicing your evacuation plan minimizes confusion and fear during the event.
Be informed. Learn about your community’s hurricane response plan. Plan routes to local shelters, register family members with special medical needs as required and make plans for your pets to be cared for.
Because standard homeowners insurance doesn’t cover flooding, it’s important to have protection from the floods associated with hurricanes, tropical storms, heavy rains and other conditions that impact the U.S. For more information on flood insurance, please visit the National Flood Insurance Program Web site at www.FloodSmart.gov.
Learn more about hurricane preparedness.