The Red Cross marked National Hurricane Preparedness Week, which runs from May 25 through May 31, with reminders of safety steps that people can take before tropical storms or hurricanes threaten. The Atlantic and Caribbean Hurricane season begins June 1 and runs through November 30.
“Preparedness is critical when it comes to life-threatening disasters such as hurricanes,” said Chris Osborne, Communications Officer, American Red Cross Alabama Region. “It’s important that families and individuals make time to build an emergency kit, create an evacuation plan, and download the Red Cross Hurricane App to help make it through the next storm safely.
A 2013 survey by the American Red Cross and The Weather Channel found that few Americans living in coastal counties have taken necessary action to prepare for severe tropical storms and hurricanes. Only about half of those surveyed have an evacuation plan or a plan for communicating with family members if they are separated. Nearly a third of people did not have an emergency kit with supplies.
Even communities far inland from the coast can experience hurricanes depending on the course of the storm, often with the threat of powerful winds and widespread flooding. In addition, strong rip currents even at large distances from the storm can threaten those at the beach many miles away.
PREPARE BEFORE THE STORM Hurricanes are powerful and dangerous storms. They can bring heavy rains that cause major flooding, destructive winds that down power lines, uproot trees and damage homes, and storm surges that travel several miles inland destroying everything in its path.
As hurricane season approaches, it is important to know the difference between the threat levels.
• A Hurricane Watch is when conditions are a threat within 48 hours. It’s then time to review your hurricane plans. Get ready to act if a warning is issued, and stay informed.
• A Hurricane Warning is when conditions are expected within 36 hours. It’s then time to complete your storm preparations and leave the area if directed to do so by authorities.
Now is the time for families and individual to build an emergency kit and create an evacuation plan.
DOWNLOAD THE HURRICANE APP The free Red Cross Hurricane App puts real time information on hurricane safety at your fingertips. This app, which has more than 970,000 downloads, is a must have for anyone who lives in an area where a hurricane may strike or has loved ones who do. Features of the Hurricane App include information on Red Cross shelters and a toolkit with a flashlight, strobe light and alarm. The one-touch “I’m Safe” button lets someone instantly tell family and friends they are okay. People who are traveling or have loved ones in hurricane-prone areas can also use the app to receive weather alerts.
The Hurricane App can be found in the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store for Android by searching for American Red Cross. Learn more about all of the Red Cross mobile apps at redcross.org/mobileapps. Learn more about hurricane preparedness at redcross.org.
About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.