|2011 Hurricane Season Begins Today, Are You Ready?
June 1, 2011 - Today, marks the first day of the 2011 Hurricane Season. Each year, the Season begins on June 1st and ends on November 30th. The Office of Emergency Management advises everyone to take the steps necessary to ensure hurricane preparedness at work and at home. Review your overall preparedness carefully with the understanding that Tampa is very susceptible to severe weather. Be prepared to survive the storm.
Make sure that your department has a Severe Weather Response Plan and that you know your role in it. This plan should include the communication links, response structures and resource coordination processes that are necessary for your department to have an effective response to any severe weather event within the City of Tampa.
When severe weather is anticipated, monitor the Internet, weather radio, and local news stations often. “Recent events including the deadly tornadoes in the central U.S. and southeast, flooding along the Mississippi and other emergencies serve as a reminded that we should be prepared to address all hazards, including hurricanes,” said FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate. “Everyone needs to be prepared, not just those in hurricane prone states, but also areas well inland. This means having an emergency plan, storing an emergency kit and staying informed of alerts or messages from local emergency officials.”
It only takes one storm to cause severe damage and loss of life, and that storm does not have to be a hurricane. Make sure that you and your co-workers are enrolled in the Know Your Role program and subscribed to receive alerts from Alert Tampa. Each department is accountable for severe weather preparedness. The level of individual department readiness will ensure the collective readiness of the City. On June 28th every department in the City will participate in the annual Citywide Hurricane Full-scale Exercise.
When preparing for hurricane season and potential emergencies, the needs of all members of a household should be considered. If a household includes a young child, senior citizen or a person with a disability or severe illness, special steps to assist them may be necessary and should be incorporated into all emergency planning. Pets require special handling. Pet owners should research pet boarding facilities now within a certain radius of where they may evacuate, since animals may not be welcome in all shelters or hotels.
The start of hurricane season is also the time to consider flood insurance coverage - most homeowners insurance does not cover flood damage. Not only are homes and businesses in hurricane-prone states at risk for flooding, but inland flooding is common in nearby states. To assess flood risk for a home or find a local agent selling national flood insurance, visit www.floodsmart.gov or call toll-free at 1-888-379-9531.
You may not be with your family when disaster strikes, so it is important to have a survival plan for your family to help ensure their safety and comfort during difficult times. Understand that after a major disaster, emergency workers may not be able to reach everyone right away, and in some cases it may take three or more days for help to arrive.
Know your home evacuation level so that you can make appropriate plans for your family when directed to prepare for storm conditions. Pick up a Hurricane Guide from any Fire Station or from the Office of Emergency Management.
Prepare an emergency supply kit. Keep loose items in airtight plastic bags. Gather the kit’s items in easy to carry containers or duffel bags. Put them within reach, near the exit you use most often. Check and update your kit at least once a year.
More information on individual and family preparedness can be found at www.Ready.gov and www.hurricanes.gov/prepare.
As the season kicks off, knowing the four terms that meteorologists use when forecasting tropical weather may also help you navigate to safety.
• A hurricane watch is an announcement that hurricane conditions (sustained winds of 74 mph or higher) are possible within the specified coastal area. Because hurricane preparedness activities become difficult once winds reach tropical storm force, the hurricane watch is issued 48 hours in advance of the anticipated onset of tropical-storm-force winds.
• A hurricane warning is an announcement that hurricane conditions (sustained winds of 74 mph or higher) are expected somewhere within the specified coastal area. Because hurricane preparedness activities become difficult once winds reach tropical storm force, the hurricane warning is issued 36 hours in advance of the anticipated onset of tropical-storm-force winds.
• A tropical storm watch is an announcement that tropical storm conditions (sustained winds of 39 to 73 mph) are possible within the specified coastal area within 48 hours.
• A tropical storm warning is an announcement that tropical storm conditions (sustained winds of 39 to 73 mph) are expected somewhere within the specified coastal area within 36 hours.
With the ongoing recovery efforts from the tornadoes and response to areas with flooding, we are reminded that everyone should be prepared to address all hazards, including hurricanes, tornadoes and flooding.
For more preparedness information, please visit www.fema.gov and www.Ready.gov.
Visit the Office of Emergency Management online. Contact the Emergency Coordinator with questions about disaster preparedness at home or work.
The above notice is archived content and may contain information that is no longer valid. This includes URL's that were valid when originally published, but may now link to sites or pages that no longer exist.