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Take These 3 Easy Steps to Prepare for 2013 Hurricane Season

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Join AARP Connecticut and thousands around the country who are pledging to
prepare to be better prepared for hurricanes and tropical storms this year. May 26 – June 1 is National Hurricane Preparedness Week and we’re sharing the importance of planning ahead to protect our families, homes and communities in advance of tropical storms and hurricanes.

Why? As we saw last year with Hurricane’s Isaac and Sandy, these storms can have an
impact anywhere along the East Coast, Gulf Coast, and even thousands of miles inland. If
you didn’t know, Hurricane Sandy led to Presidentially declared disasters in 13 states,
sweeping from Maine to West Virginia - including right here in Connecticut!

Now is the time to prepare for the start of this year’s hurricane season. Communities,
families, and individuals all have a part to play in making America – its diverse towns,
businesses, and neighborhoods – a more resilient nation before, during, and after disasters.

“Getting prepared” for extreme weather like hurricanes and tropical storms may sound like a tall task, but it’s not.  Here are three easy steps you can take in the next ten minutes to kick off preparing for hurricane season:

1. Pledge to prepare – There are lots of ways to “pledge”, but the quickest one may be to go to Ready.gov/hurricanes and click on the “ Pledge to prepare” button. You’ll join the thousands of others who are making that same pledge and turning it into action. One way to prepare is by developing an emergency plan with your family, and practicing how you would evacuate if instructed by your local, state and tribal officials. You can also share your pledge by being an example to those in your community by sharing your steps with your family, friends, and neighbors. Or inspire your networks on Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter by posting about how you’re getting prepared.

2. Learn about Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEAs) – This might sound like an odd step to get prepared, but WEAs are a relatively new development that is worth knowing about.  Wireless Emergency Alerts are like text messages that include a special tone and vibration received by your mobile device during an emergency in your area. Most of these alerts will be issued by the National Weather Service for imminent and severe weather conditions, like tornado, hurricane, or flood warnings.  They could also be used by some local officials if they issue evacuation orders for their respective areas. Getting familiar with the alerts is a great way to get prepared, especially if you live in a hurricane-prone area, since the alerts use a unique tone and vibration.

3. Subscribe for hurricane safety tips via text message – Have you heard about this new program from FEMA? You can text HURRICANE to 43362 (4FEMA) and you’ll receive hurricane-related safety tips from FEMA every two weeks. Now, if your cell phone plan charges you per text message, or you’re not a fan of receiving texts, downloading the FEMA smartphone app may be a good option for packing your phone with safety information. The app contains information on preparing for hurricanes, floods, wildfires, and any emergency for which your community may be at risk.

See also: Disaster Preparedness Tips for Older Americans

So join us in pledging to prepare for this year’s hurricane season. Taking these simple steps can jumpstart you, your family, and your business to staying safer from the threats of
hurricanes and tropical storms.

More information and ideas can be found at www.ready.gov/hurricanes and on FEMA’s official social media accounts at www.facebook.com/FEMA or twitter.com/FEMA.

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