DEMA says Delawareans should prepare for hurricane season

SMYRNA — While tropical storms and hurricanes can occur without regard to the calendar, today marks the official start of the hurricane season.

The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration released its forecast for 2018 a week ago, predicting a near to above average season, anticipating 10 to 16 named storms, of which one to four of them should achieve hurricane status.

One storm, Alberto, has already affected Mexico and the Southeastern and Midwestern regions of the United States.

The Delaware Emergency Management Center said now is the time for the state’s residents and property owners to prepare for any storms that could affect Delaware during this storm season. Actions taken now may help protect lives and minimize property damage in the event a tropical storm or hurricane touches the state.

With the advice of “Make a Plan – Make a Kit,” DEMA officials encouraged residents to:

•Prepare a Home Emergency Kit. Important items to include are water — a gallon per day for each person living in the house for three days (example: four residents equals 12 gallons); a three-day supply of non-perishable food; battery-powered or hand-cranked radio with NOAA weather band; flashlights or battery powered lanterns; first aid kit; manual can opener and cell phone chargers. Prescription medications should be kept up to date.

•Know your potential evacuation routes. If instructed to evacuate your home, do so quickly. Plan where to go if instructed to evacuate. Options may include the home of a friend or relative who lives outside of the affected area or an out-of-town hotel. Emergency shelters should be considered as a last resort. To help plan your evacuation routes, check this section of the Delaware Department of Transportation website

•If evacuating, take proof of residence such as a utility bill along as this may be the only way that law enforcement officials will allow individuals to return to the evacuated area.

•Establish a family communication plan. Set procedures on how family members will communicate where they are and let friends and loved ones know they are safe.

•Don’t forget your pets. Make sure to have emergency supplies of food and water for them also and include household pets in evacuation plans.

•When the possibility of a storm is being talked about, stay current as to the latest forecast and storm track. Local television and cable stations, along with local radio can keep individuals informed.

•As a storm approaches, check on neighbors who may have functional needs or are elderly. Make sure they are prepared for the storm or if they need to evacuate.

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