Hurricane Preparedness Saves Lives and Property

MIAMI – The peak of hurricane season begins this week and the Seventh Coast Guard District wants citizens of the hurricane-prone district to prepare now to ensure they’ll know what to do when the next storm comes.

Hurricane preparedness is a shared responsibility. Government agencies have a responsibility to alert citizens and respond to those in distress. Those in the path of an approaching storm have an individual responsibility to stay alert, heed warnings and ensure the safety of themselves and their families.

“Just as we have made sure our personnel and equipment are ready for this hurricane season, we need citizens to make sure they are ready as well,” said Rear Adm. David W. Kunkel, commander of the Seventh Coast Guard District. “According to a NOAA report, more than half of the nation’s population lives in the coastal fringe of the United States. The coastal population within the Seventh Coast Guard District has been growing since 2003 and by 2008 is expected to have grown by 1.1 million people or eight percent. This means a large number of people, in this district and throughout the U.S., are at risk for serious injury or death, property loss or damage, and other perils stemming from hurricanes and tropical storms.”

To prepare for hurricanes people need to:

* Have emergency supplies on hand – enough for 72 hours after the storm.
* Know hurricane evacuation routes and evacuate when directed.
* Remove small boats from the water, secure boats to trailers, and secure the trailer and boat above likely flood areas.
* Take boats too large to be removed from the water to a safe haven well in advance of the storm.
* Never go to sea in a recreational boat to ride out a hurricane.
* Monitor news and weather radio for information.

The Coast Guard re-established the Coastal Warning Display program June 1, to provide the public and the maritime community another visual cue that severe weather is anticipated and that they need to take personal action to ensure individual safety. The Coast Guard also announced the commissioning of the Deployable Operations Group in July, which, according to Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Thad W. Allen, brings together a number of specially trained and equipped units that further enhances the Coast Guard’s ability to rapidly deploy an adaptive force package in response to a natural disaster.

The Coast Guard has rescued, evacuated or otherwise assisted more than 297,000 people in response to hurricanes and other natural disasters.
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