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Long Island Search and Rescue

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Emergency Preparedness

What is Emergency Preparedness?

Emergency preparedness is the preparation and planning necessary to effectively handle an emergency. It involves individuals developing an emergency plan that identifies services they require, and what resources they need to have on hand in case of an emergency. Emergency plans should be written and given to loved ones, care givers and other relevant parties.

When it comes to emergency planning, you know yourself and your needs the best, so you are the ideal person to create your personalized emergency preparedness plan. People who cannot independently create an emergency preparedness plan will need assistance from caregivers and others who support them.

When creating your personal preparedness plan, it is important to identify the following:

  1. Responsible party for carrying out specific actions;
  2. Personnel, equipment, supplies, medications and needs specific to an individual;
  3. Emergency contact information;
  4. Other resources available for use in the emergency; and
  5. An outline of how all actions will be coordinated.
This information has been taken off of the following website: www.disabilitypreparedness.gov



 A hurricane is a type of tropical cyclone, the generic term for a low pressure system that generally forms in the tropics. A typical cyclone is accompanied by thunderstorms, and in the Northern Hemisphere, a counterclockwise circulation of winds near the earth?s surface.

All Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico coastal areas are subject to hurricanes or tropical storms. Parts of the Southwest United States and the Pacific Coast experience heavy rains and floods each year from hurricanes spawned off Mexico. The Atlantic hurricane season lasts from June to November, with the peak season from mid-August to late October.

Hurricanes can cause catastrophic damage to coastlines and several hundred miles inland. Winds can exceed 155 miles per hour. Hurricanes and tropical storms can also spawn tornadoes and micro-bursts, create storm surges along the coast, and cause extensive damage from heavy rainfall.

Hurricanes are classified into five categories based on their wind speed, central pressure, and damage potential (see chart). Category Three and higher hurricanes are considered major hurricanes, though Categories One and Two are still extremely dangerous and warrant your full attention.

Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale

Scale Number
Sustained Winds
Damage Storm Surge
1 74-95 Minimal: Unanchored mobile homes,
vegetation and signs.
4-5 feet
2 96-110 Moderate: All mobile homes, roofs,
small crafts, flooding.
6-8 feet
3 111-130 Extensive: Small buildings, low-lying
roads cut off.
9-12 feet
4 131-155 Extreme: Roofs destroyed, trees
down, roads cut off, mobile homes
destroyed. Beach homes flooded.
13-18 feet
5 More than 155 Catastrophic: Most buildings
destroyed. Vegetation destroyed.
Major roads cut off. Homes flooded.
Greater than 18 feet

Hurricanes can produce widespread torrential rains. Floods are the deadly and destructive result. Slow moving storms and tropical storms moving into mountainous regions tend to produce especially heavy rain. Excessive rain can trigger landslides or mud slides, especially in mountainous regions. Flash flooding can occur due to intense rainfall. Flooding on rivers and streams may persist for several days or more after the storm.

Between 1970 and 1999, more people lost their lives from freshwater inland flooding associated with land falling tropical cyclones than from any other weather hazard related to tropical cyclones.

Map of hurricane direct hits on the continental United States

Naming the Hurricanes
Since 1953, Atlantic tropical storms have been named from lists originated by the National Hurricane Center and now maintained and updated by an international committee of the World Meteorological Organization. The lists featured only women?s names until 1979. After that, men?s and women?s names were alternated. Six lists are used in rotation. Thus, the 2001 lists will be used again in 2007.

The only time there is a change in the list is if a storm is so deadly or costly that the continued use of the name would be inappropriate for reasons of sensitivity. When this occurs, the name is stricken from the list and another name is selected to replace it.

Sometimes names are changed. Lorenzo replaced Luis and Michelle replaced Marilyn. The complete lists can be found at www.nhc.noaa.gov under ?Storm Names.?

Know the Terms
Familiarize yourself with these terms to help identify a hurricane hazard:

Tropical Depression: An organized system of clouds and thunderstorms with a defined surface circulation and maximum sustained winds of 38 MPH (33 knots) or less. Sustained winds are defined as one-minute average wind measured at about 33 ft (10 meters) above the surface.

Tropical Storm: An organized system of strong thunderstorms with a defined surface circulation and maximum sustained winds of 39?73 MPH (34?63 knots).

Hurricane: An intense tropical weather system of strong thunderstorms with a well-defined surface circulation and maximum sustained winds of 74 MPH (64 knots) or higher.

Storm Surge: A dome of water pushed onshore by hurricane and tropical storm winds. Storm surges can reach 25 feet high and be 50?1000 miles wide.

Storm Tide: A combination of storm surge and the normal tide (i.e., a 15-foot storm surge combined with a 2-foot normal high tide over the mean sea level created a 17-foot storm tide).

Hurricane/Tropical Storm Watch: Hurricane/tropical storm conditions are possible in the specified area, usually within 36 hours. Tune in to NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio, or television for information.

Hurricane/Tropical Storm Warning: Hurricane/tropical storm conditions are expected in the specified area, usually within 24 hours.

Short Term Watches and Warnings: These warnings provide detailed information about specific hurricane threats, such as flash floods and tornadoes.

Take Protective Measures

Before a Hurricane
To prepare for a hurricane, you should take the following measures:

  • Make plans to secure your property. Permanent storm shutters offer the best protection for windows. A second option is to board up windows with 5/8? marine plywood, cut to fit and ready to install. Tape does not prevent windows from breaking.
  • Install straps or additional clips to securely fasten your roof to the frame structure. This will reduce roof damage.
  • Be sure trees and shrubs around your home are well trimmed.
  • Clear loose and clogged rain gutters and downspouts.
  • Determine how and where to secure your boat.
  • Consider building a safe room.

Satellite image of a hurricane

During a Hurricane
If a hurricane is likely in your area, you should:

  • Listen to the radio or TV for information.
  • Secure your home, close storm shutters, and secure outdoor objects or bring them indoors.
  • Turn off utilities if instructed to do so. Otherwise, turn the refrigerator thermostat to its coldest setting and keep its doors closed.
  • Turn off propane tanks.· Avoid using the phone, except for serious emergencies.
  • Moor your boat if time permits.
  • Ensure a supply of water for sanitary purposes such as cleaning and flushing toilets. Fill the bathtub and other large containers with water.

You should evacuate under the following conditions:

  • If you are directed by local authorities to do so. Be sure to follow their instructions.
  • If you live in a mobile home or temporary structure?such shelters are particularly hazardous during hurricanes no matter how well fastened to the ground.
  • If you live in a high-rise building?hurricane winds are stronger at higher elevations.
  • If you live on the coast, on a floodplain, near a river, or on an inland waterway.
  • If you feel you are in danger.

If you are unable to evacuate, go to your wind-safe room. If you do not have one, follow these guidelines:

  • Stay indoors during the hurricane and away from windows and glass doors.
  • Close all interior doors?secure and brace external doors.
  • Keep curtains and blinds closed. Do not be fooled if there is a lull; it could be the eye of the storm - winds will pick up again.
  • Take refuge in a small interior room, closet, or hallway on the lowest level.
  • Lie on the floor under a table or another sturdy object.

After a Hurricane
Follow the instructions for recovering from a disaster in Part 5.

Knowledge Check
You make the call

Read the following and respond to the question below.

Your neighbor said that in the event a hurricane threatens, the household would get ready by closing the windows and doors on the storm side of the house and opening the ones on the side away from the wind. They also will tape the windows to prevent damage to the glass.

Is this a good idea?

This information is taken off the FEMA.gov site. Click below to take you to the site:
FEMA_Hurricane preparedness


Prepare Yourself

Properly preparing yourself, your family, and your property is key to surviving a hurricane and helping make sure the damage done to your home is as minimal as possible.  In this section, you?ll find tips for preparing your home and your family before the hurricane hits, as well as information on how to endure the storm

Create a Disaster Supply Kit
Prepare a Family Disaster Plan
Map Out an Evacuation Plan
In the Event of a Hurricane Watch
In the Event of a Hurricane Warning
What to do During a Hurricane


 Following is a Hurricane preparedness kit, information provided by the National Hurricane Center. Click on link below to visit their site:


Water - at least 1 gallon daily per person for 3 to 7 days

Food - at least enough for 3 to 7 days
? non-perishable packaged or canned food / juices
? foods for infants or the elderly
? snack foods
? non-electric can opener
? cooking tools / fuel
? paper plates / plastic utensils

Blankets / Pillows, etc.

Clothing - seasonal / rain gear/ sturdy shoes

First Aid Kit / Medicines / Prescription Drugs

Special Items - for babies and the elderly

Toiletries / Hygiene items / Moisture wipes

Flashlight / Batteries

Radio - Battery operated and NOAA weather radio

Telephones - Fully charged cell phone with extra battery and a traditional (not cordless) telephone set

Cash (with some small bills) and Credit Cards - Banks and ATMs may not be available for extended periods


Toys, Books and Games

Important documents - in a waterproof container or watertight resealable plastic bag
? insurance, medical records, bank account numbers, Social Security card, etc.

Tools - keep a set with you during the storm

Vehicle fuel tanks filled

Pet care items
? proper identification / immunization records / medications
? ample supply of food and water
? a carrier or cage
? muzzle and leash


Make a Family Disaster Plan:
Information provided by American Red Cross, Nassau & Suffolk Chapters

Meet with your loved ones and create a Family Disaster Plan - which includes a Family Communications Plan and a Family Evacuation Plan. Outline responsibilities for each member. When you do, remember to:
  • Plan ahead for the possibility of becoming separated from your family and friends.
  • Designate an individual outside the potentially affected area that each family or household member will call or e-mail to check in with should a hurricane occur. Your selected contact should live far enough away that they would be unlikely to be directly affected by the same event, and they must know they are the chosen contact.
  • Know that phone lines (and e-mail) may be out of service or overloaded after a disaster, so it's often easier to call out of the area. You may also have to be patient and try again later.
  • Make sure this person has all family emergency phone numbers and contacts.
  • Make sure all of your loved ones have the contacts' phone number as well as each others' phone numbers and e-mail addresses. Loved ones should agree to call the out-of-town contact to report their whereabouts and welfare. Consider having a laminated wallet-sized card made to carry with you at all times. For more information about contact cards, visit http://www.redcross.org/prepare/ECCard.pdf
  • Practice the communication plan and update as necessary.
  • Use the American Red Cross "Safe and Well" Web site, available at www.redcross.org, as a secure, free location to post messages to loved ones worried about your well-being.
  • Have all family members stay in contact with the designated individual if you are evacuated to let them know their whereabouts and well-being.

Resource List for Emergencies and Preparedness

Updated 2-25-15

TV: Long Island

     NEWS 12                Channel 12                Long Island News 

     TV 12 TW                Channel 61                Long Island Traffic & Weather 

     TWC                        Channel 62                The Weather Channel 

Phone: Nassau and Suffolk Counties

   211 or 1-888-774-7633 – Emergency Information

Radio: Nassau County

     WKJY                      98.3 FM                     

     WHLI                      1100 AM                    

     WINS                      1010 AM                    

     WCBS                     880 AM                      

Radio: Suffolk County

     WALK                     97.5 FM                     

     WBAB                     102.3 FM                   

     WBAZ                     102.5 FM                   

     WRCN                     103.9 FM                   

     WLNG                     92.1 FM                     

Internet Resources

       Nassau County OEM                                                https://www.nassaucountyny.gov/1620/Emergency-Management         

       Nassau Organization on Disability                            www.nod.org/emergency

       Suffolk County OEM                                                  http://scoem.suffolkcountyny.gov/Home.aspx

       Long Island Red Cross                                              http://www.redcross.org/ny/mineola

       Health and Welfare Council of LI                               www.hwcli.com

       FEMA                                                                         http://www.fema.gov/

       Ready – Prepare. Plan. Stay Informed.                    http://www.ready.gov/

       NYS Emergency Management                                 http://www.dhses.ny.gov/oem/

       National Hurricane Center                                        www.nhc.noaa.gov

       211 Long Island                                                         http://www.211longisland.org/cms/

       National Terrorism Advisory System                         http://www.dhs.gov/national-terrorism-advisory-system

Social media resources

       Nassau County OEM                                                  https://www.facebook.com/NassauOEM

       211 Long Island                                                           https://www.facebook.com/211LongIsland

       Red Cross of Long Island                                           https://www.facebook.com/LIRedCross

       Suffolk County FRES                                                  https://www.facebook.com/SCFRES

       National Hurricane Center                                           https://www.facebook.com/NWSNHC

       Ready – Prepare. Plan. Stay Informed.                       https://www.facebook.com/readygov

       FEMA                                                                           https://www.facebook.com/FEMA

       News 12 Long Island                                                   https://www.facebook.com/News12LI

Apps available for your smart phone

       News 12 App  - Platform: iOS, Android
                                 Price: Free

       FEMA - Platform: iOS, Android, BlackBerry
                     Price: Free

       Red Cross – Offers a series of apps. Some examples are – Hurricane app, Shelter finder app, First aid app, Wildfire app
                     Platform: iOS, Android
                     Price: Free

       HurricaneSoftware.com app - Platform: iOS, Android, windows phone
                                                        Price: Free

       WISER (Wireless Information System for Emergency Responders) App - Platform: iOS, Android, BlackBerry
                                                                                                                               Price: Free

       Disaster Alert - Platform: iOS, Android
                                 Price: Free

       ICE Standard -   Platform: iOS, Android
                                  Price: Free