Hurricane Preparedness Week: It Only Takes One

It only takes one storm to change your community. Hurricane Preparedness Week, May 15–21, is an opportunity to encourage preparedness on the part of individuals, groups, and organizations in our communities. Hurricanes and tropical storms cause high winds, flooding, and storm surges, which can have great effects on public health. Disease outbreaks, contaminated water, mold, and mildew are just a few of the issues local health departments (LHDs) must be ready to tackle in the wake of a storm.

Climate change is impacting the weather systems that create hurricanes. Experts predict that climate change will provide more frequent and intense storms. For the 2016 hurricane season, forecasters currently predict a total of 14 named tropical storms and eight hurricanes, four of which are expected to make landfall.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) offers tips and related links to help individuals prepare for a potential land-falling tropical storm or hurricane. Another great resource is #HurricaneStrong, a national hurricane resilience initiative by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes, and NOAA. #HurricaneStrong encourages individuals to make a preparedness plan: know their evacuation zone, make sure their insurance coverage includes natural disasters, build a disaster supply kit, take steps to protect their homes, and learn how they can contribute to their community’s preparedness as well. Tap into the effort to engage and inform members of your community through #HurricaneStrong’s social media campaign.A prepared public health system can mean the difference between life and death in a disaster situation. Hurricane Preparedness Week is a great opportunity for us to take stock and be proactive in preparing ourselves and our communities to safely weather whatever storms may come.

[Excerpted from NACCHO Voice from the National Association of County and City Health Officials]