WEATHER ALERT: DEMA -- Review emergency plans, supplies, monitor weather, surf conditions
As of a final update from state emergency officials for Thursday night, the projected path of Hurricane Irene continued to place the powerful storm slightly to the east of Delaware’s Atlantic Coast, however, emergency management officials and their partners were advising the public to take precautions and to be prepared to enact their household and business emergency plans as it moves closer.
State and local officials have been conducting conference calls at least twice daily with the National Weather Service for updates on the storm’s progress. The calls also allow discussion of available resources statewide and the potential needs of specific areas where a storm might have greater impact. Since forecasters of the National Weather Service are available to state officials at all times, significant developments in the storm and recommended actions can be communicated to the public immediately through the media.
The public is also being reminded that those who also monitor weather updates and heed information and directions from emergency management and other officials will be better prepared to safely react to conditions as they evolve.
With Irene’s potential impact nearly two days away, Delawareans are being urged to review their personal emergency plans and inventory emergency supplies now. The hurricane is projected to bring more than a foot of rain along the coast and sustained winds of 85 mph, which could result in tidal flooding and power-line damage.
For those along the beaches and closer to the coastal areas, officials said, it is important to have an evacuation plan, including a destination of their choosing and means of transporting everyone in their household, including pets. Contact phone numbers should be updated and important personal documents should be stored and ready to move if evacuation is required.
For safety and peace of mind, residents should check emergency food supplies for expiration dates, variety and ease of serving and eating. In addition to enough water for drinking and preparing food, supplies should include enough water for sanitation and for pet needs.
Other important emergency supplies include a battery- or crank-powered radio and several light sources, such as flashlights and camping lamps. Many crank- or solar-powered radios also have built in lights and cell phone chargers. Those who use battery operated radios and lights should check the strength of their batteries.
Suggestions and guides for creating a family emergency plan and building an emergency supply kit are available on several Web sites, including www.dema.delaware.gov, www.delawarecitizencorps.org, www.preparede.org, www.ready.gov and www.listo.gov.