NEW YORK STATE EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT OFFICE
1220 Washington Avenue, Building 22, Albany, NY 12226-2251
George E. Pataki, Governor James W. Tuffey, Director
CONTACT: FOR RELEASE:
Dennis Michalski IMMEDIATE, Thursday
(518) 485-5666 May 12, 2005
SEMO DIRECTOR SAYS PREPARE NOW FOR UPCOMING HURRICANE SEASON
New York State residents should take the time now to prepare for the 2005 hurricane / coastal storm season, State Emergency Management Office (SEMO) Director James W. Tuffey said today.
“New Yorkers should review their community’s preparedness plans as well as their own to know what to do in the event of an emergency,” Tuffey said. “There are some simple measures they can take to be prepared, such as having emergencies supplies on hand including flashlights and batteries, and water and canned goods. Don’t wait until the storm warnings are posted.”
Traditionally, the Atlantic hurricane/coastal storm season in the Empire State runs from June 1 through November 30. While predominantly coastal storms, in the past these devastating storms have impacted areas of the State hundreds of miles from the ocean.
“Severe weather associated with hurricanes can have disastrous effect on inland areas of the state,” Tuffey said. “We only need to look at last season’s late summer hurricanes as a reminder of the damage they can cause upstate.”
Hurricanes and tropical storms late last summer moved up the Atlantic Coast and struck the central, southern and eastern portions of the state with such ferocity that the resulting damage qualified 21 counties for federal disaster assistance.
Governor George E. Pataki, recognizing the importance of both community and personal preparedness, has designated next week, May 15-21, as Hurricane Preparedness Week in the State.
“Lessons learned from last year’s storms reinforce why all New Yorkers must be prepared as the 2005 season approaches,” Governor Pataki said. “Since each year is unpredictable, all communities and citizens should prepare themselves, their loved ones, homes and businesses for storms before they hit.”
Tuffey said that annually, under the Governor’s leadership, all levels of government in the State develop emergency plans and then practice those plans to protect their communities. “But each of us has a responsibility to devise our own plans to protect our families and property,” he said.
Before the start of the hurricane season, Tuffey urged New Yorkers to:
Develop or review a household disaster plan. Know how to contact all family members at all times. Identify an out-of-town friend or family member to be the “emergency family contact.” Then make certain all family members have that number. Designate a family emergency meeting point, some familiar location where the family can meet in the event the home is inaccessible.
Prepare an emergency phone list of people and organizations that may need to be called. Include children’s schools, doctors, child/senior care providers, and insurance agents.
Know the hurricane / storm risks in their areas, and learn the storm surge history and area’s elevation.
Learn their community’s warning signals and evacuation plans.
Learn safe routes inland.
Learn the location of official shelters.
Make arrangements on where to relocate pets during a storm because most shelters will not allow pets.
Ensure that enough non-perishable food and water supplies are on hand. Make sure battery-operated radios and flashlights are available and have an ample supply of batteries. Have a first aid kit available and make sure there is an ample supply of medicines on hand for those who require it.
Store important documents – insurance policies, medical records, bank account numbers, Social Security card, etc. – in a waterproof container. Also have cash, checkbook, credit and ATM cards readily available.
Obtain and store materials, such as plywood, necessary to properly secure your home.
Know how to turn off the power, heat and water at home.
Repair loose and clear clogged rain gutters and down spouts.
Secure or bring inside lawn furniture and other loose, lightweight objects such as garbage cans and garden tools that could become projectiles in high winds. Also keep trees and shrubbery trimmed of dead wood.
Review insurance policies to determine extent of coverage before a storm strikes.
Determine where to move boats in an emergency.
The SEMO Director also emphasized the importance of being aware of local weather conditions by listening to National Weather Service broadcasts on NOAA Weather Radio and reports from local television and radio stations. He also advised individuals with special needs or requiring more information to contact their local emergency management office.