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Disaster Preparedness & the 2014 Atlantic hurricane season – June 1 to November 30
Naples, FL – May 5, 2014 – We are quickly approaching the June 1 start of the 2014 Atlantic hurricane season in Florida that runs through November 30. For the first time forecasts sent out by the U.S. NOAA’s National Hurricane Center (NHC) will include storm surge maps to show the potential for hurricane induced surge to cause flooding on the U.S. coastline.
Every year millions of Americans who live in Florida, the Gulf Coast and the East coast of the U.S. should prepare for possibly being impacted by straight-line winds, severe thunder storms, tropical storms, flooding and hurricanes in the region. The National Hurricane Center (NHC) has announced the introduction of its newest feature, the Potential Storm Surge Flooding Map, which will be available at the start of the 2014 Atlantic Hurricane Season (http://www.artemis.bm/
NOAA and National Hurricane Center forecasters are predicting a below-average 2014 Atlantic hurricane season with 11 names storms, including five hurricanes, two of which are predicted to attain major hurricane status (Category 3 or stronger on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale (http://www.weather.com/
August 13, 2014 marks the 10th anniversary of the destructive impact of Hurricane Charley in Southwest Florida. Charley was the third named storm, the second hurricane, and the second major hurricane of the 2004 Atlantic-basin hurricane season. Charley made landfall on the southwest coast of Florida near Cayo Costa, just west of Ft. Myers around 3:45 p.m. EDT on August 13, 2004 with maximum sustained surface winds of 150 mph. At maximum strength, Charley was the strongest hurricane to hit the United States since Hurricane Andrew struck Miami-Dade County twelve years before in 1992.
Florida Division of Emergency Management – State Emergency Response Team
The Florida Division of Emergency Management plans for and responds to both natural and man-made disasters. These range from floods and hurricanes to incidents involving hazardous materials or nuclear power. The division prepares and implements a statewide Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan, and routinely conducts extensive exercises to test state and county emergency response capabilities.
The division is the state's liaison with federal and local agencies on emergencies of all kinds. Division staff members provide technical assistance to local governments as they prepare emergency plans and procedures. They also conduct emergency operations training for state and local governmental agencies.
After a disaster, the division conducts preliminary damage assessment surveys and advises the Governor on whether to declare an emergency and seek federal relief funds. The division maintains a primary Emergency Operations Center (EOC) in Tallahassee. The EOC serves as the communications and command center for reporting emergencies and coordinating state response activities.
What happens when a disaster hits a local community?
The Federal Emergency Management Agency pre-stages emergency supplies throughout the county in advance of a major disaster, e.g., Cat 4 or 5 Hurricanes, major earthquake or major flooding that impacts an entire community, etc. The Federal Emergency Management Agency partners in the initial response phase but especially during the recovery phase of a disaster and is a guest of whatever state its in. FEMA is the lead agency in a disaster and works closely with state, county and local emergency managers and officials.
What do local authorities in Southwest Florida mean?
Local authorities are representatives in Southwest Florida with Charlotte, Collier, Desoto, Hendry, Lee and Sarasota County Office of Emergency Management. Other representatives include the City of Naples, Marco Island, Bonita Springs, Fort Myers, Cape Coral, Port Charlotte and Punta Gorda Office of Emergency Preparedness and Homeland Security, and whatever other local municipality is working with local emergency managers. Everyone needs to check ahead of time with your local authorities to determine what he or she needs to do in the immediate days after a disaster.
What is a Family Emergency Disaster Communication Plan?
Every individual has to prepare for any disaster whether its man-made, weather related, etc., by developing a personal family emergency disaster communication plan that includes disaster emergency supplies for each member of your family. Disaster emergency supplies should also include the needs of your pets, children and elderly individuals who may be living with you at home or nearby.
What do I need to include in a Disaster Emergency Supplies Kit?
Don't wait until there is a hurricane or tropical storm watch or warning that may impact the residents of Southwest Florida, Southeast Florida or the Florida Keys to prepare. NOW is the time to put together your disaster emergency supplies kit that should include the following:
Ø A gallon of drinking water per person per day for at least seven days.
Ø Enough non-perishable food items, a manual can opener per person for at least five to seven days.
Ø Two months of medication for your children, pets, and grandparents
Ø Stock up on extra batteries, new flashlights, a NOAA weather radio, non-perishable foods, a manual can opener, candles, an extra tank of propane gas for your barbecue grill.
Ø Extra batteries already charged for all of your mobile devices.
Ø All hazards NOAA Weather Radio, http://www.nws.noaa.gov/
Also, it would be a good idea to have an old-fashioned wired landline phone in your house that you can use just in case the electricity goes out. Remember - all those fancy cordless phones that do everything except make espresso - are no good to you if the electricity goes down for days or even weeks.
One more thing - if you are able to do so, purchase a large diesel powered or propane powered generator and have it installed in your home PRIOR to the start of the new hurricane season on June 1st. Especially if you are some else in your household is dependent on oxygen, a respirator, or other device that needs to be connected to electricity 24 hours a day, seven-days-a-
The bottom line is - you and only you are responsible for the safety and well being of your family before, during and after a disaster. Here are some useful websites to help you prepare and keep your family safe:
Be Prepared. Have a Plan. Keep Your Family Safe.
Pete E Cento
Pete E Cento