The Under Secretary of Homeland Security for Emergency Preparedness and Response, Michael Brown, joined representatives on Monday from the Department of Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the director of the National Hurricane Center to kickoff National Hurricane Preparedness Week.
Brown emphasized the important hurricane preparedness measures individuals should take in anticipation of the upcoming 2005 hurricane season.
“This week is a time for all Americans living in hurricane-prone areas in the United States to learn more about protecting themselves against the effects of hurricanes and tropical storms,” Brown said. “Even after the historically brutal hurricane season we witnessed last year, too many Americans are still not prepared for what they should do if a hurricane or tropical storm strikes their home this year.”
Brown pointed to a recent poll that found a fourth of the people in 12 east and Gulf Coast hurricane-prone states are doing nothing to prepare for the next hurricane that could hit their area. He urged all Americans to take time to prepare for the next hurricane now, with the warning that, “It can happen to you!”
FEMA’s “Are You Ready” guide (available through www.FEMA.gov and www.ready.gov) details hurricane preparedness techniques Brown spoke about for individuals to follow in preparing for the upcoming storms. The three main steps to disaster preparedness highlighted in the guide are: make a plan, make a kit, get informed. These simple steps are vital to guarding against injury to life and property that could come from the effects of a hurricane or any disaster.
Last week, President George W. Bush declared the week of May 16 -22 as National Hurricane Preparedness Week in a presidential proclamation.
NOAA officials Vice Admiral Conrad Lautenbacher Jr. and Brigadier General David Johnson announced their 2005 Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook and had NOAA’s hurricane hunter aircraft (WP-3 Orion and Gulfstream IV) on display at the event and the director of the National Hurricane Center, Max Mayfield, also highlighted the details of the upcoming hurricane season and emphasized the importance of preparedness.
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