May 19, 2011
Re: National Hurricane Week Approaches – Be Prepared!!
As a follow up to our letter of May 17 Charles McKenna, Director State Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness reminds us that May 22, 2011 begins National hurricane preparedness week. Information about this week can be obtained at http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/outreach/prepared_week.shtml. While the hurricane focus is often on shore communities, we saw with hurricane Floyd, where towns such as Bound Brook and, Manville suffered great flooding, that it is our entire state that is at risk to a hurricane. A good source of preparedness information can be obtained from the New Jersey Office of Emergency Management website at http://www.state.nj.us/njoem/plan/threats-emergencies.html.
As we have not had a major hurricane hit our shores for many years there could be a tendency to become complaisant. We cannot afford to be unprepared for the ferocity of a major hurricane the way south Floridians were unprepared for Hurricane Andrew and New Orleans residents were unprepared for Katrina. While hurricanes rarely hit New Jersey, weather patterns of late have been unpredictable and severe. Since our last major hurricane in 1944, an enormous amount of building has occurred throughout this state and the amount of damage both to lives and infrastructure could be astronomical if we do not take the necessary precautions and heed the word of state authorities if a storm bears down on us.
Because of this, it is very important to get the word out to your constituents that preparedness is the key to dealing with any emergency situation and as we move forward into hurricane season they should all take the time to ensure that they have a plan and the proper supplies to literally weather a storm. Once they have a plan and the needed items to deal with an emergency they should heed the word of experts if and when the time comes to act on an emergency. If they plan and act appropriately in deference to the forces of nature, we will all be safer for it.
Very truly yours,
William G. Dressel, Jr.