BEDFORD — As a part of Hurricane Preparedness Week, Police Chief Robert Bongiorno and Fire Chief David Grunes are encouraging residents to take a series of precautions in the event of a tropical storm or hurricane.
Gov. Charlie Baker has proclaimed July 11-17 to be Hurricane Preparedness Week and is emphasizing the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ vulnerability to tropical storms and hurricanes, as well as the importance of being prepared for the impacts of these storms.
June 1 marked the official start of the Atlantic Hurricane Season, which runs through Nov. 30. While most hurricanes and tropical storms that hit New England occur during August and September, residents are encouraged to take time now to prepare, especially after the impacts of Tropical Storm Elsa.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) seasonal outlook predicts another active, above-normal, Atlantic hurricane season.
The recent storms are a timely reminder for all residents to prepare for the effects of a hurricane by developing an emergency plan, building an emergency kit, and staying informed before, during and after the storm.
Hurricanes and tropical storms can have an impact on the entire Commonwealth, not just coastal communities. This year marks the 10th anniversary of Tropical Storm Irene, which produced severe flooding damage in communities throughout Central and Western Massachusetts in 2011.
All Massachusetts residents need to prepare for the possibility of storm impacts, and are encouraged to learn more about the hazards and how to prepare by visiting the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency’s hurricane webpage at mass.gov/mema/hurricanes.
The Bedford Police and Fire Departments wish to share the following tips, courtesy MEMA:
Know Your Evacuation Zone
Massachusetts has designated hurricane evacuation zones, designated as Zone A, Zone B, and Zone C, for areas of the state at risk for storm surge flooding associated with tropical storms or hurricanes.
If evacuations are necessary because of a tropical storm or hurricane, local or state officials will notify people living, working or vacationing in evacuation zones to leave the area. Even areas not directly along a coastline may be at risk for storm surge flooding during a tropical storm or hurricane.
Find out if you are in a hurricane evacuation zone by visiting the “Know Your Zone” interactive map located on MEMA’s website at www.mass.gov/knowyourzone.
Make an Emergency Plan
Develop a plan with your family members of what to do, how to find each other, and how to communicate in a tropical storm or hurricane. An emergency plan should include:
- Meeting Locations
- Emergency Contact Information
- Evacuation Plans
- Shelter-in-Place Plans
- Considerations for Family Members with Access and Functional Needs, and Pets
For details, click here.
Build an Emergency Kit
Build an emergency kit containing items that will sustain you and your family if you are isolated for three to five days without power or unable to go to a store. Emergency kits are essential during hurricane season due to potential extended power outages, flooding, and impassable debris-covered roads.
While it is important to customize your kit to meet the unique needs of you and your family, every emergency kit should include bottled water, food, a flashlight, a radio and extra batteries, a first aid kit and personal hygiene items.
Depending on your family’s needs, emergency kits should also include medications, spare eyeglasses, medical equipment and supplies, and children’s items such as diapers and formula. Food and supplies for pets and service animals should also be part of your kit.
For a complete emergency kit checklist, click here.
Receiving warnings, timely emergency alerts and information from public officials is critical to staying safe during a tropical storm or hurricane. Every family should have multiple methods for receiving emergency alerts.
Learn more about the different types of alerting and information tools, including the Emergency Alert System, Wireless Emergency Alerts, NOAA Weather Radio, social and traditional media, 2-1-1 Hotline, local notification systems and more by clicking here.