Before Hurricane Katrina many of us watched the hurricane season. Many didn't think it would affect them. Katrina proved that a hurricane can affect all parts of the country. During Katrina I was a member of the Missouri Department of Health & Senior Services Center for Emergency Response & Terrorism. We ended up activated because of displaced persons coming into the state. Below I have reprinted the current hurricane season predication from DHS's Emergency Management and Response Information Sharing and Analysis Center.
"Active Hurricane Season Possible
The 2008 Atlantic hurricane season officially starts on 1 June and may peak between late August and mid-October. According to specialists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, it will be an active period with 12 to 16 named storms of which 6 to 9 are expected to become actual hurricanes. The nation’s premier climate agency also predicted that 2 to 5 hurricanes will be major ones of Category 3 or higher with winds above 110 miles per hour.
The Emergency Management and Response—Information Sharing and Analysis Center (EMR-ISAC) recognizes that the United States made it through largely unscathed during the last two years despite predictions for active seasons. However, the EMR-ISAC remembers that 2004 and 2005 hurricanes seriously degraded the capabilities of several emergency departments and agencies in affected areas.
Whereas some degree of incapacitation may be realistic in hurricane-prone states, there must be reasonable expectation that preparedness measures are ongoing to prevent the reduction of essential services caused by any storms occurring this year. Necessary preparatory activities inevitably present the leaders of communities and their first responders with major operational, logistical, and personnel challenges. Therefore, the EMR-ISAC encourages exclusive focus on those matters that will preserve survivability, continuity, and “response-ability” for this year’s hurricanes and all other hazards.
Emergency Services Sector (ESS) organizations nationwide strive for uninterrupted mission-essential task performance before, during, and after catastrophes. To support this constant struggle by ESS departments and agencies susceptible to hurricanes, the EMR-ISAC offers the following “best practices” for consideration by sector leaders:
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Hurricane Awareness web site:
- Revise emergency plans to include methods to transport stranded ESS personnel to and from their stations when necessary.
- Ensure plans include all roads expected to flood during heavy rains, ways to avoid them, and procedures to access emergencies along these roads.
- Update plans to address “last refuge,” and “shutdown,” as well as sudden storm change contingencies.
- Know how to access mass communication technologies to push or pull storm information.
- Examine the benefits of participation in the National Weather Service Storm Ready Program.
- Prepare to reset generators that have failed because of low air pressure and high winds commonly associated with hurricanes.
- Guarantee electricity for gas pumps that provide fuel for emergency vehicles and LPG for emergency generators.
- Move apparatus, vehicles, and equipment to safe, but accessible locations.
- Make sure each station has sufficient food and supplies for at least 72 hours of non-stop emergency operations.
- Remain alert for gas leaks, electrical system damage, downed or loose power lines, sewage and water line damage, etc.
- Remember terrorists or criminals may attempt to take advantage of the distraction caused by natural disasters.