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Hurricane Basics


What

Hurricanes are massive storm systems that form over the water and move toward land. Threats from hurricanes include high winds, heavy rainfall, storm surge, coastal and inland flooding, rip currents, and tornadoes. These large storms are called typhoons in the North Pacific Ocean and cyclones in other parts of the world.

Where

Each year, many parts of the United States experience heavy rains, strong winds, floods, and coastal storm surges from tropical storms and hurricanes. Affected areas include all Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico coastal areas and areas over 100 miles inland, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Hawaii, parts of the Southwest, the Pacific Coast, and the U.S. territories in the Pacific. A significant per cent of fatalities occur outside of landfall counties with causes due to inland flooding.

When

The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30, with the peak occurring between mid-August and late October. The Eastern Pacific hurricane season begins May 15 and ends November 30.


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Basic Preparedness Tips

  • Know where to go. If you are ordered to evacuate, know the local hurricane evacuation route(s) to take and have a plan for where you can stay. Contact your local emergency management agency for more information.
  • Put together a go-bag: disaster supply kit, including a flashlight, batteries, cash, first aid supplies, medications, and copies of your critical information if you need to evacuate
  • If you are not in an area that is advised to evacuate and you decide to stay in your home, plan for adequate supplies in case you lose power and water for several days and you are not able to leave due to flooding or blocked roads.
  • Make a family emergency communication plan.
  • Many communities have text or email alerting systems for emergency notifications. To find out what alerts are available in your area, search the Internet with your town, city, or county name and the word “alerts.”

What To Do......


What to do when a hurricane is 6 hours from arriving

  • If you’re not in an area that is recommended for evacuation, plan to stay at home or where you are and let friends and family know where you are.
  • Close storm shutters, and stay away from windows. Flying glass from broken windows could injure you.
  • Turn your refrigerator or freezer to the coldest setting and open only when necessary. If you lose power, food will last longer. Keep a thermometer in the refrigerator to be able to check the food temperature when the power is restored.
  • Turn on your TV/radio, or check your city/county website every 30 minutes in order to get the latest weather updates and emergency instructions.


What to do when a hurricane is 6-18 hours from arriving

  • Turn on your TV/radio, or check your city/county website every 30 minutes in order to get the latest weather updates and emergency instructions.
  • Charge your cell phone now so you will have a full battery in case you lose power.

What to do when a hurricane is 18-36 hours from arriving

  • Bookmark your city or county website for quick access to storm updates and emergency instructions.
  • Bring loose, lightweight objects inside that could become projectiles in high winds (e.g., patio furniture, garbage cans); anchor objects that would be unsafe to bring inside (e.g., propane tanks); and trim or remove trees close enough to fall on the building.
  • Cover all of your home’s windows. Permanent storm shutters offer the best protection for windows. A second option is to board up windows with 5/8” exterior grade or marine plywood, cut to fit and ready to install.


What to do when a hurricane is 36 hours from arriving

  • Turn on your TV or radio in order to get the latest weather updates and emergency instructions.
  • Build or restock your emergency preparedness kit. Include food and water sufficient for at least three days, medications, a flashlight, batteries, cash, and first aid supplies.
  • Plan how to communicate with family members if you lose power. For example, you can call, text, email or use social media. Remember that during disasters, sending text messages is usually reliable and faster than making phone calls because phone lines are often overloaded.
  • Review your evacuation plan with your family. You may have to leave quickly so plan ahead.
  • Keep your car in good working condition, and keep the gas tank full; stock your vehicle with emergency supplies and a change of clothes.


After a Hurricane

  • Listen to local officials for updates and instructions.
  • Check-in with family and friends by texting or using social media.
  • Return home only when authorities indicate it is safe.
  • Watch out for debris and downed power lines.
  • Avoid walking or driving through flood waters. Just 6 inches of moving water can knock you down, and one foot of fast-moving water can sweep your vehicle away.
  • Avoid flood water as it may be electrically charged from underground or downed power lines and may hide dangerous debris or places where the ground is washed away.
  • Photograph the damage to your property in order to assist in filing an insurance claim.
  • Do what you can to prevent further damage to your property, (e.g., putting a tarp on a damaged roof), as insurance may not cover additional damage that occurs after the storm.

     Summer is a time for fun in the sun but it also is the Atlantic hurricane season. The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30, with the peak occurring between mid-August and late October especially for the mid-Atlantic and Northeast as ocean temps get warmer. Knowing how to Be Ready can be the difference that keeps you and your family safe.


     Thanks to our friends and Ready.gov this information explains what actions you can take to prepare for a land falling hurricane and  how to understand alerts from the National Weather Service.


Familiarize yourself with these terms to help you before and during a hurricane:

Hurricane Watch

  • Hurricane watch = conditions possible within the next 48 hrs.
  • Steps to take:
    • Review your evacuation route(s) & listen to local officials.
    • Review the items in your disaster supply kit; and add items to meet the household needs for children, parents, individuals with disabilities or other access and functional needs or pets.


Hurricane Warning

  • Hurricane warning = conditions are expected within 36 hrs.
  • Steps to take:
    • Follow evacuation orders from local officials, if given.
    • Check-in with family and friends by texting or using social media.
    • Follow the hurricane timeline preparedness checklist, depending on when the storm is anticipated to hit and the impact that is projected for your location.

Communication and Information is key......

Keep a list of contact information for reference. Contacts should include:

  • Local Emergency Management Office
  • Local Law Enforcement
  • Local EMS and Fire
  • State, County and City/Town Government
  • Local Hospitals
  • Local Utilities
  • Local American Red Cross
  • Local TV Stations
  • Local Radio Stations
  • Your Property Insurance Agent

BASIC PROTECTIVE MEASURES FOR ALL HAZARDS

Some basic protective actions are similar across many different hazards:

  • Physical safety is a concern for all hazards and may involve sheltering or evacuating.
  • Develop a family communications plan
  • Make an emergency supply kit to be prepared for any type of disaster.
  • Learn about receiving emergency alerts and local emergency plans for shelter and evacuation, local emergency contacts, and local advance alerts and warnings.
  • When recovering from a disaster, safety as well as mental and physical well-being must be considered.

BE INFORMED

Learn what protective measures to take before, during, and after an emergency


MYTH: I DON’T NEED TO WORRY ABOUT DISASTERS WHERE I LIVE.

Emergency preparedness is not only for those that live in more disaster prone area like California, the Midwest or the Gulf Coast.


Most communities may be impacted by several types of hazards during a lifetime.


Americans are also traveling more than ever before to areas that may have a higher risk of disaster than at home. Knowing what to do before, during and after an emergency is a critical part of being prepared and may make all the difference when seconds count.


Information provided as part of Be Ready. Montclair can help you to learn about potential emergencies that can happen and how to prepare for and respond to them.

     Launched in May 2014, Be Ready. Montclair is a local public service campaign designed to educate residents and business owners in the Montclair area on how to prepare for and respond to emergencies including natural and man-made disasters.

     The goal of the campaign is to get the public involved and ultimately to increase the level of basic preparedness in our area. 

     It is the overall goal of Montclair Ambulance Unit to offer preparedness planning and assistance to every aspect of our community to help reduce the possibility of catastrophic loss as a result of natural or man-made disasters.

     This site will include seasonal preparedness information such as dealing with cold weather emergencies during the winter months and heat related emergencies during the summer. There will also be important links to local, state and federal agencies for further information on how to prepare for emergencies.