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Hurricane Season Officially Starts on June 1
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Red Cross
May 27, 2009

The American Red Cross is preparing for the 2009 hurricane season, and urges people who live in areas prone to big storms also prepare.  The season officially begins on June 1 and runs through the end of November.

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According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the 2009 season will be near normal with four to seven hurricanes likely.  Predictions call for nine to 14 named storms and 1 to 3 major hurricanes with winds of 111 mph or higher.

“The time to get ready is now,” said Joe Becker, senior vice president of Red Cross Disaster Services, “Go over your plan and make sure it is still current.  Get out your kit and see if anything needs to be replaced.”

Some steps you can take to be prepared include:

  • Build a disaster supplies kit or check the kit you got ready last year.  Include a three-day supply of water and ready-to-eat non-perishable foods such as tuna fish, peanut butter, crackers, canned fruit, juice boxes, etc.  Don’t forget a manual can opener, battery-powered radio, flashlight, and extra batteries.  Your kit should also have a first aid kit, prescription and non-prescription medications, and copies of important documents.
  • Prepare a personal disaster and evacuation plan.  Identify two meeting places, one near your home, and one outside your area in case you can’t return home.  Make plans for your pets.  Select an out-of-area emergency contact person.
  • Be informed.  Know what a hurricane WATCH means.  If a hurricane WATCH is issued, listen to weather updates from your battery-powered or hand-cranked radio. Bring in outdoor objects such as lawn furniture, hanging plants, bicycles, toys and garden tools, anchor objects that cannot be brought inside. Close all windows and doors. Cover windows with storm shutters or pre-cut plywood. If time permits, and you live in an identified surge zone, elevate furniture or move it to a higher floor to protect it from flooding. Fill your vehicle’s gas tank. Check your disaster supplies kit to make sure items have not expired.
  • If a hurricane WARNING is issued, listen to the advice of local officials, and leave if they tell you to do so. Secure your home by unplugging appliances and turning off electricity and the main water valve. If you are not advised to evacuate, stay inside, away from windows, skylights and glass doors. Do NOT use open flames, such as candles and kerosene lamps, as a source of light. If power is lost, turn off appliances to reduce damage from a power surge when electricity is restored.

In 2008, the Red Cross helped hundreds of thousands of people whose lives were affected by hurricanes.  Almost 500,000 sought food and a safe place to stay in more than 1,000 Red Cross shelters.  In excess of six million meals were served by more than 26,000 Red Cross staff and volunteers.

For more information regarding how individuals and families can get ready for the 2009 hurricane season, visit www.redcross.org.

About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and counsels victims of disasters; provides nearly half of the nation's blood supply; teaches lifesaving skills; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization — not a government agency — and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its humanitarian mission. For more information, please visit www.redcross.org or join our blog at www.redcrosschat.org.

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