Be Ready for Hurricane Irene
For immediate release
Red Cross Preparing as Hurricane Irene Heads Toward East Coast
Residents Urged to Check Their Storm Preparations Now
Concord, NH, Wednesday, August 24, 2011
Hurricane Irene is predicted to affect a large area of the East Coast later this week and into the weekend with strong winds and potential flooding. The American Red Cross from Florida to Maine is getting ready.
The American Red Cross in New Hampshire is preparing for a full East Coast response if needed. Disaster response teams are pre-positioning numerous emergency response vehicles and disaster supplies, and mobilizing disaster workers to parts of the country expected to see impact from this large storm.
Red Cross disaster staff are working with their State emergency management partners to
prepare shelters for use by those affected by the storm. They plan to set up and operate four regional shelters, each of which would be a refuge for residents of several surrounding towns in the event of needed evacuations.
“We are checking the availability of our volunteers, reaching out to officials in state agencies communities and readying our supplies,” said Ian Dyar, Emergency Services Director for the American Red Cross in New Hampshire. “We take these preparedness steps early so that we can respond quickly and effectively when needed.”
Dyar said the local preparations mirror what is happening nationally. “Red Cross chapters from Florida to Virginia are working with local and state officials to prepare for the storm’s arrival.”
Along the East Coast, the American Red Cross is urging people in potential evacuation areas to familiarize themselves with the Red Cross Safe and Well website by visiting www.redcross.org/safeandwell This site allows individuals to let their loved ones know what their situation is due to the hurricane impacts. The site can be also be accessed by going to www.redcross.org/safeandwell on a smart phone, or by calling 1-800-RED CROSS.”
Dyar said people can also update their Facebook and Twitter status through the Safe and Well site. Affected residents who have iPhones can also download the free Red Cross shelter finder app in the Apple iTunes store.
“As this storm moves toward the East Coast, people who are living or vacationing in areas that could see its impact need to get ready now,” Dyar said. “We urge them to take the threat of Irene seriously and finalize their hurricane preparations and get their emergency kits ready.”
It’s important for people in the path of the storm to know that a hurricane watch means hurricane conditions could threaten the area within 48 hours. A hurricane warning means hurricane conditions are expected within 36 hours. Those in the affected area should finish their storm preparations and leave the area if authorities ask them to do so.
Even a passing glance from Irene could cause problems in New Hampshire, Dyar said,including power outages or flooding. “The same basic readiness tips apply regardless of how severe the storm is. These are steps you should take to be ready for any emergency.”
The Red Cross urges people to take steps over the next few days as the storm approaches to help ensure their safety and the safety of their loved ones. They include:
Get a three-day supply of water ready for each person (one gallon per person, per day) on hand, along with food that doesn’t require refrigeration, flashlights, a battery-operated
radio and a first aid kit.
Be sure you have several days’ supply of any prescriptions you or family members are taking.
Plan routes to emergency shelters and register family members with special needs with local authorities as required.
Make plans for pets. Have extra food on hand, as well as any medications they need on a regular basis.
Bring items inside that can be picked up by the wind.
As the storm nears, turn the refrigerator and freezer to the coldest settings and keep them closed as much as possible so food will last longer if the power goes out.
Turn off any propane tanks and unplug small appliances.
Fill your vehicle’s gas tank.
If high winds are in the forecast for your area, close windows, doors and hurricane shutters. If hurricane shutters are not an option, close and board up windows and doors
The Red Cross also encourages businesses and schools to prepare for emergencies and disruptions of operations. There are specific steps businesses, schools and organizations
should take if they are in the path of the hurricane, such as:
Reviewing emergency response plans and continuity of operations of plans so everyone knows the approved procedures and individual responsibilities.
Checking their stock of emergency preparedness supplies and safety equipment.
Ensuring warning or alert systems for employees are in order and employee contact information is up-to-date.
Storing employee emergency contact information and other important files on and offsite.
Red Cross workers in countries in the Caribbean are already responding to Hurricane Irene. In Haiti, where many victims of last year’s earthquake are still living in camps, disaster preparedness activities have been ongoing for months. Ahead of the storm, camp committees were notified and emergency response teams put on alert. The Dominican Republic Red Cross evacuated residents ahead of the storm and provided emergency shelters for those affected.
The Bahamas Red Cross is coordinating with the national emergency office to initiate preparedness activities. And, the Turks and Caicos Red Cross has volunteers ready to assist in community shelters, as well as provide first aid. Red Cross disaster preparedness starts long before a hurricane makes landfall, beginning with keeping supplies and equipment on stand-by all year to help people in need. On average, the American Red Cross spends about $450 million on disaster relief every year.
For further information about safety preparations or American Red Cross services in New
Hampshire, please visit www.nhredcross.org.