Hurricane Season Begins Today

FEMA urges people to prepare for hurricane and possible disasters


WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Today, Tuesday June 1, marks the official start of the 2010 Atlantic hurricane season that runs through the end of November. Officials from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) spent the day urging American families, businesses and communities to take every possible precaution to prepare for hurricanes and other disasters. FEMA continues to work with its state, local and federal partners to increase preparedness and coordinate response and recovery in the case of a hurricane or disaster, and uses the start of hurricane season to remind Americans to assess their personal readiness to respond to emergencies.

FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate spent the day at the FEMA Region IV offices in Atlanta, Ga., visiting with leadership and staff as they continue to plan and prepare for hurricanes and other emergencies that threaten the southeast. FEMA Region IV encompasses Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Tennessee and Kentucky.

"June 1 should serve as an important reminder about the need for individuals to be prepared for any emergency," said Administrator Fugate. "This may be the start of the hurricane season, but emergencies can happen anytime, anywhere, and everyone needs to be prepared - not just those folks in hurricane prone states."

Earlier today, FEMA Deputy Administrator Rich Serino marked the beginning of the season by giving the keynote address at the Delaware 2010 All-Hazards Preparedness Conference. Serino stressed the importance of working together at the local, state and federal levels to prepare for all hazards, and the important role that individual preparedness plays in ensuring a strong response to hurricanes and other emergencies.

Everyone, including those living outside of hurricane-risk areas, should check their personal preparations and emergency kits, note any alerts or messages from local emergency officials, and rehearse emergency evacuation routes. Emergency kit supplies should last at least 72 hours.

Important items to have ready in case of an emergency include a battery-powered radio, flashlight, extra batteries, medicine, non-perishable food, hand-operated can opener, utility knife and first aid supplies. All important documents should be copied and stored in a waterproof bag. These may include medical records, contracts, property deeds, leases, banking records, insurance records and birth certificates.

When preparing for hurricane season and potential emergencies, the needs of all members of a household should be considered. If a household includes a person with a disability, special steps to assist them may be necessary and should be incorporated into all emergency planning.

Pets also require special handling. They may become agitated during the onset of a storm, so a pet carrier is a must for safe travel. 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.

source from FEMA(Federal Emergency Management Agency)