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PRESS CONTACT INFO

ROBIN ERICKSON
Director of Communications

PHONE
(401) 831-7700 x101
E-MAIL
[email protected]

Friday, May 31,2002
Rhode Island Red Cross Encourages Lifesaving
Preparedness Steps For Hurricane Season

With the 2002 hurricane season officially kicking off this Saturday, June 1st, the American Red Cross of Rhode Island urges families in the Ocean State to take steps now to prepare for what experts predict will be an active and destructive year for storms.

"Every year, coastal communities suffer the tragic loss of life and property because of hurricanes, which can devastate a region with destructive winds, heavy rains and flooding, storm surges and torndaoes," said Elias Garcia, Director of Emergency Services, said. "Because we know that our region is at risk every year, it is vital that we work to keep our families safe by preparing for hurricane season before it even starts. Taking a few moments to discuss some simple, common-sense preparedness steps with your family can save your life and the lives of the ones you love."

The 2001 Atlantic and Gulf Coast hurricane season is predicted to be an active one, according to Dr. William Gray, a climatologist with Colorado State University who annually studies weather patterns to make predictions about the storm season. Dr. Gray predicts that 2001 will bring 10 named storms and six hurricanes - two of which he says will be major, intense storms.

"With hurricanes, in a way, we are fortunate, because advance warning systems give us time to evacuate threatened areas when a storm is imminent," Garcia said. "However, instead of waiting until a storm is threatening our community, the time to prepare is now."

  • Prepare a Personal Evacuation Plan
    Identify ahead of time where you could go if you are told to evacuate. Choose several places--a friend's home in another town, a motel or a shelter. Get a good map and be familiar with your community's evacuation routes. Listen to local media broadcasts or NOAA Weather Radio for the latest storm conditions. If advised to evacuate, do so immediately. If you have to evacuate to a Red Cross shelter, be sure to bring medications, extra clothing, pillows and blankets and other hygiene and comfort supplies for all members of your family. Be sure to also make advance preparations for your pets, which aren't allowed in Red Cross shelters.
  • Assemble a Family Disaster Supplies Kit
    Have emergency supplies set aside for all members of your household, including emergency medications, non-perishable food and a non-electric can opener, bottled water (at least three gallons per day per person), a battery-powered radio, flashlight and extra batteries, extra clothes, important documents, cash and credit cards, a first aid kit and other special items for infants, elderly or disabled family members and pets. (The Rhode Island Red Cross has a sample kit available to display).
  • Prepare for High Winds
    Make trees more wind resistant by removing diseased and damaged limbs, then strategically removing branches so that wind can blow through. Install permanent shutters on your windows and add protection to the outside areas of sliding glass doors. Strengthen garage doors and unreinforced masonry. Move or secure lawn furniture, outdoor decorations or ornaments, trash cans, hanging plants and anything else that can be picked up by wind and become a projectile.

For more information on hurricane preparedness, and how you can make your family and home safer, contact your local American Red Cross chapter at 401.831.7700 or go online to www.riredcross.org.

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