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Marylanders encouraged to prepare during Hurricane Preparedness Week

5/20/2016, 10 a.m.
Maryland Hurricane Preparedness Week is May 15-21. This week, the Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) is teaming up with the ...

Maryland Hurricane Preparedness Week is May 15-21. This week, the Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) is teaming up with the National Weather Service (NWS) and local emergency managers to promote citizen awareness and preparedness. Hurricanes can cause strong winds, heavy rain, and flooding. These storms occur most often in the summer and fall during the Atlantic hurricane season and have wide-ranging and severe effects.

“As we approach hurricane season, we are committed to ensuring the safety of our citizens,” said Governor Larry Hogan. “Hurricane Preparedness Week is a reminder that there are steps that Maryland citizens can take now to ensure they are prepared before, during, and after a severe storm.”

“Residents should determine the risk of flooding and other hazards caused by hurricanes for their area and take action to prepare,” said MEMA Executive Director Russ Strickland. “Know your evacuation route, assemble a disaster kit, and review your homeowners or renters insurance ahead of time. If there is a hurricane in the forecast, listen to emergency officials and keep lines of communication open with your friends, family, and neighbors.”

The NWS notes that it is not only the eastern shore of Maryland that can be affected by hurricanes.

“Every part of Maryland can see devastating impacts from hurricanes. While less frequent than our southern neighbors, when hurricanes or remnants of hurricanes come through, torrential flooding rains, devastating high tides, damaging winds, and even tornadoes can be serious threats to our state,” said NWS Warning Coordination Meteorologist Chris Strong.

Residents can take the following actions now in order to prepare for hurricane season:

*Clear out rain gutters so water doesn’t back up and end up in your house.

*Around the dinner table, talk to your family about where you would meet in the event of an emergency.

*If you have pets, identify some pet-friendly hotels in case you have to evacuate.

*Program “In Case of Emergency” contacts into your phone.

*Teach friends and family members to text on their cell-phones, text messages can often get through when phone calls can’t.

*Make copies of important documents for your emergency kit. (Medications; medical information; proof of address; passports; birth certificates; and insurance policies, etc.) Consider putting them on a secure flash drive, as well.

*Get an extra set of house and car keys made for your emergency kit.

*Download the free MARYLAND Prepares mobile app, which includes weather and emergency alerts, at mema.maryland.gov/Pages/mdprepares.aspx.

*Teach everyone how to turn off the utilities in your house (electricity, gas, water, etc.) so they can do it in case of an evacuation.

*Pick up canned goods when your store has a sale, they will last a long time and ensure you will have something to eat if you can’t go out to the store.

Additional information can be found on MEMA’s website: mema.maryland.gov.