June 27, 2014
Re: Hurricane Season Has Begun. Are Your Residents Ready?
We have witnessed firsthand the destructive power of a storm like Sandy. Sandy was not the first storm to wreak havoc in New Jersey, but she was one of the most powerful to strike the state in many decades, and the damage she inflicted was widespread.
Now, more than 18 months after the storm, New Jerseyans are still recovering. The good news is that we are rebuilding stronger, safer and smarter. Throughout the State, municipalities are engaged in restoring infrastructure and taking steps to ensure that their communities will never again be caught in the bull’s eye of a hurricane without preparation.
Hundreds of homes along the Jersey Shore have been elevated. Many municipalities have moved critical facilities away from areas vulnerable to flooding. Thanks to extensive outreach efforts by FEMA and the New Jersey Office of Emergency Management, residents and business owners are far better informed about how to plan for, protect against, and recover from storms and other possible disasters than ever before.
Weather experts are predicting a less active hurricane season on the Atlantic Coast than in recent years due to the fact that water temperatures are projected to be cooler than they have been under the influence of El Nino. While a storm of the magnitude of Sandy may not occur again for many years, it is advisable to prepare for the possibility that a storm or other disaster may interrupt the usual summer cycles of rainy and sunny days and present the state with a major weather challenge.
If that occurs, it’s up to each of us to be ready to respond effectively. Using the tools of preparedness can mean the difference between life and death, danger and safety, when a storm arrives. Perhaps the most important thing your residents can do is create a family communications plan. Make cards for each family member with names and contact numbers. Have a contact in another state, or at least another town, that family members can get in touch with, as making a long-distance call or even sending a text message may be easier than a local call during a disaster.
Your residents should plan how to get to higher ground if you need to evacuate, what your community’s evacuation route is, and where it goes. They will also want to know just how vulnerable their homes and properties are to flooding.
For tips on hurricane preparedness, let your residents know that they should visit www.fema.gov or www.ready.nj.gov. They can also follow FEMA online at www.fema.gov/blog, www.twitter.com/fema, www.facebook.com/fema, and www.youtube.com/fema. Also, they can follow FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate's activities at www.twitter.com/craigatfema. The social media links provided are for reference only. FEMA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies or applications.
Very truly yours,
William G. Dressel, Jr.