American Red Cross Urges People to Get Ready for Hurricanes

Washington, DC - The American Red Cross encourages families and communities to get ready today for the hurricane storm season ahead that begins on June 1.

The Red Cross marked National Hurricane Preparedness Week, which runs from May 25 through May 31, with reminders of 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.

“The massive destruction hurricanes can bring has been seen in recent years from the Gulf Coast up through the Northeast,” said Richard Reed, senior vice president of Disaster Cycle Services. “The good news is that you can take steps now to help keep your loved ones safe. Preparedness begins at home with our families around the dinner table creating an evacuation plan and discussing what to include in an emergency kit.”

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.

NOAA HURRICANE OUTLOOK On May 22, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicted a near-normal or below-normal 2014 Atlantic hurricane season with 8 to 13 named storms. From those projected storms, 3 to 6 could become hurricanes, with 1 to 2 of those possibly becoming a Category 3 or higher hurricane. While the hurricane outlook may be normal, it only takes one storm to deliver a devastating blow.

"If a hurricane strikes your community, it won't matter whether the predictions were for a season above or below average. What will matter is what you did to prepare yourself and those who count on you", said Reed.

Even communities far inland from the coast can experience hurricanes depending on the path 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 life-threatening 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 Red Cross mobile apps.

Learn more about Hurricane Preparedness.

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