Friday, May 28, 2010

Hurricane Season Could Be Strongest Ever, Say Top Meteorologists

Published May 27, 2010


Hurricane Bill hovers 820 miles southeast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, on August 21, 2009. Bill was a category 3 hurricane with 115 MPH winds at the time.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) issues its 2010 hurricane season forecast, predicting one of the strongest seasons on record -- and reiterating fears that the Gulf oil spill may be impacted by the severe weather.

Hurricane season for the western Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico begins June 1 and lasts through Nov. 30. That's when about 90 percent of the storms make themselves present, and the predictions for this season are grim -- which could wreak further havoc on the Gulf Coast.

NOAA's forecast predicts as many as 23 named storms during the Atlantic hurricane season, with three to seven becoming serious enough to be classified as major hurricanes. Named storms come with top winds of 39 mph or higher. The agency worries that as many as 14 could turn into hurricanes, with winds in excess of 74 mph, and three to seven could be Category 3, 4 or 5 storms with winds of at least 111 mph.

“If this outlook holds true, this season could be one of the more active on record,” said Jane Lubchenco, Ph.D., under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator. “The greater likelihood of storms brings an increased risk of a landfall. In short, we urge everyone to be prepared.”

This jibes with earlier predictions of a severe hurricane season from Accuweather and scientists at Colorado State.

Mexico worries seasonal shift in currents could bring Gulf oil spill to Mexican shores
Weakening El Nino conditions could complicate forecasting hurricane season "It's going to be a bigger than average hurricane season and it's going to start sooner," Accuweather's Joe Bastardi told in May. And Colorado State University meteorologists Philip Klotzbach and William Gray also predict rough weather in their extended-range hurricane forecast.

"The main uncertainty in this outlook is how much above normal the season will be. Whether or not we approach the high end of the predicted ranges depends partly on whether or not La Nina develops this summer," said Gerry Bell, Ph.D., lead seasonal hurricane forecaster at NOAA's Climate Prediction Center. The intense forecast is based on the weakening of El Nino, a Pacific Ocean phenomenon that creates strong wind shear that weakens Atlantic storms.

"At present we are in a neutral state, but conditions are becoming increasingly favorable for La Nina to develop."

Predictions of an active hurricane season bring the risk that oil from the DeepWater oil spill may be affected by the dramatic seasonal storms. Early predictions suggested that oil may be pushed into the Loop Current that circles Florida and be carried around the state and up the Atlantic coast.

In May, Accuweather's Bastardi expressed his concerns about this eventuality. "This oil slick is probably going to be impacted in some way by this hurricane season," the chief long-range meteorologist and hurricane forecaster said.

"It's going to be a bigger than average hurricane season and it's going to start sooner," he said.

The agency agrees, but believes that the Loop Current won't be a factor. NOAA believes oil in the Gulf of Mexico is likely to stay there for now, since the Loop Current has pinched a path from Florida. The agency worries instead that the intense storm season may push oil onto shores, furthering the environmental catastrophe that may be facing Gulf states.

"FEMA is working across the administration and with our state and local partners to ensure we're prepared for hurricane season," said FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate. "But we can only be as prepared as the public, so it's important that families and businesses in coastal communities take steps now to be ready. These include developing a communications plan, putting together a kit, and staying informed of the latest forecasts and local emergency plans. You can't control when a hurricane or other emergency may happen, but you can make sure you're ready."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Monday, May 24, 2010


News Release from: Oregon State Police

Posted: May 24th, 2010 12:28 PM
Photo/sound file:

Focusing ahead at the challenges faced during what historically has the highest percentage of alcohol-involved traffic fatalities of all major holidays during the year, police agencies throughout Oregon urge all travelers to drive safe and sober, and buckle up this Memorial Day holiday extended weekend.

Starting Friday, May 28 through Monday, May 31, Oregon State Police (OSP) troopers will join law enforcement agencies in Oregon and around the country stepping up enforcement efforts during Operation C.A.R.E. (Combined Accident Reduction Effort). This special nationwide program coincides with the national "Click It or Ticket" campaign, May 24 – June 6.

ODOT's Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) reports that five people died in four separate fatal traffic crashes during the 2009 Memorial Day holiday period, May 22 – 25. More than 250 people have died in Oregon traffic crashes during the last 40 years over the Memorial Day holiday period. Since 1985, approximately 54 percent of the fatalities were in alcohol-involved crashes.

OSP Superintendent Timothy McLain urges everyone traveling this holiday weekend, whether long distance or on short drives near home, to support the enforcement efforts and safety restraint mobilization.

"Be prepared for the stepped up enforcement activities by buckling yourself and your child passengers before you go. Have a rested, sober driving at all times and report those whose driving is posing a danger to others on our roads," said McLain.

During the last three years' Memorial Day holiday weekends, OSP troopers arrested more than 250 people for DUII, including 88 DUII drivers arrested during last year's 102-hour holiday period. Troopers also responded to about 100 reported traffic crashes, assisted over 500 disabled motorists, and made over 6,000 traffic-related enforcement contacts.

According to ODOT's Occupant Protection Program, lack of safety belt use was a major factor in half of all Oregon motor vehicle occupant deaths last year. Alarmingly, one in three children under age 8 killed or injured in crashes were using adult belt systems or were totally unrestrained rather than riding in child seats appropriate for their size.

Nationally, nearly two-thirds (64%) of those who died in 2008 traffic crashes between the hours of 6:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. were not searing their safety belts. During daytime hours between 6:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. less than half (45%) of the passenger vehicles occupants killed in crashes were unrestrained.

"Nighttime drivers and passengers continue to be among those least likely to wear seat belts. Consequently, they are also among those most likely to die in motor vehicle crashes. Even though it may be dark doesn't mean we can't see someone unbuckled in a vehicle, so we will join other Oregon law enforcement agencies supporting the enhanced enforcement of safety restraint laws during the Click It or Ticket campaign," said McLain.

More information about the "Click It or Ticket" campaign is available on ODOT's website at and at

Oregon State Police and Oregon Department of Transportation offer the following safety reminders for holiday travel:

* Get plenty of rest before starting out. Fatigued drivers are more frequent during holiday weekends because of increased travel and activity. Allow plenty of time to reach your destination.
* Be aware that ODOT is in the midst of the busiest highway construction season ever. Stay up to date on road conditions by visiting or calling 5-1-1.
* Even when workers are not present, all work zone speed limits still apply and fines double. Inactive work zones still have equipment, detours, and incomplete changes in the roadway so drivers need to slow down and be alert.
* Always use safety restraints and child safety seats correctly.
* Don't drink and drive.
* MOVE OVER if you are approaching any type of emergency vehicle, tow truck or roadside assistance vehicle which is stopped on the roadside with emergency lights activated.

Everyone plays an important part in keeping our highways and city streets safe. Immediately report aggressive, dangerous, and intoxicated drivers to the Oregon State Police at 1-800-24DRUNK (1-800-243-7865) or call 9-1-1.

### ###

Contact Info: Lieutenant Gregg Hastings
Public Information Officer
Office: (503) 731-3020 ext. 247
Pager: (503) 323-3195

Shelley Snow
ODOT Public Affairs
Office: (503) 986-3438

Thursday, May 20, 2010

California, Oregon, and Washington Take Action Toward Healthy Oceans, Coasts, and Coastal Communities,


May 20, 2010

Media Contacts:
Jillian Schoene, Oregon, 503-378-5040
Jeff Macedo, California, 916-445-4571
Karina Shagren, Washington, 360-902-4122

West Coast Governors’ Agreement on Ocean Health releases implementation plans

Salem – The Governors of California, Oregon, and Washington today released eight issue-specific work plans to improve and sustain the health of the three states’ shared coastal and ocean resources and the communities that depend on them. With $500,000 in new funding from the federal government, projects funded by existing federal and state investments will be able to continue and the three states will begin to look at which projects to start next.

“These action plans represent the balanced, collective approach we need to ensure our ocean continues to be sustainably managed for coastal communities and marine life,” Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongoski said. “The best way to protect the interests of coastal communities is to preserve our existing ocean resources and identify new economic development opportunities, such as wave energy. We can tap our ocean as a new source of green power in a way that protects the traditional uses of our ocean.”

In 2006 Governors Schwarzenegger, Kulongoski, and Gregoire committed to taking action to protect the states’ shared coastal and ocean resources. In July 2008, the three Governors released a West Coast Governors’ Agreement on Ocean Health (WCGA) Action Plan that identified common ocean and coastal management priorities. The regional agreement was the first of its kind on the West Coast and also aligns well with federal planning efforts currently under way under the Obama Administration’s Ocean Policy Task Force established in 2009.

The three Governors are now releasing final implementation plans for eight issue areas identified by the WCGA two years ago: 1. Climate Change, 2. Polluted Runoff, 3. Marine Debris, 4. Spartina Eradication, 5. Renewable Ocean Energy, 6. Ocean Awareness and Literacy, 7. Seafloor Mapping, and 8. Sediment Management. The issue areas represent the need to clean up the ocean, protect it from future damage and the importance of balancing new uses of the ocean with existing practices such as fishing and habitat protection.

“We are moving from planning to action with the release of these implementation plans,” said California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. “Together we made a commitment to address climate change, combat ocean garbage, reduce water pollution, protect our marine habitats, and to unlock the mysteries of our offshore waters by mapping the seafloor off all three states. Today we are taking a bold new step in fulfilling that commitment.”

The implementation plans were developed by groups know as Action Coordination Teams (ACTs), comprised of federal, state, local, tribal and stakeholder representatives on the West Coast. Members of these tri-state teams are experts in their fields and have firsthand experience addressing these challenges. Their final plans reflect the numerous comments received from the public when the implementation plans were released in draft form.

“An enormous amount of work was put into these work plans to benefit ocean and coastal health and our working communities,” Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire said. “This shows the strongest commitment on the part of our citizens and experts. We owe them our deepest gratitude and thanks. Now we must turn our full attention to getting plans transformed into real, on-the-ground work.”

These eight comprehensive plans identify and prioritize on-the-ground projects to ensure successful long-term coordination and implementation of regional priorities identified in the Action Plan. Examples of actions identified within these plans and active projects in Oregon include:

Completing a high resolution map of the seafloor off of California, Oregon, and Washington, by 2020. This crucial information will help communities prepare for tsunami waves, inform the siting of ocean uses such as wave energy projects, and inform fisheries management. Governor Kulongoski secured federal and state funds to map Oregon’s seafloor. This work is ongoing and at the close of this summer, approximately 44 percent of the Oregon Territorial Sea will have been mapped. Just 5 percent was mapped as of early 2009.
Oregon is leading the effort in evaluating the potential for renewable ocean energy projects and assembling data and information to help identify and address potential environmental and socioeconomic impacts of such development. The state’s work, in collaboration with the fishing community, scientists and the private sector, will ensure that renewable energy development occurs in areas least likely to harm fisheries, sensitive marine habitats, or local coastal communities.
Oregon applied for and received federal funds to reduce marine debris. The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife will employ commercial fishermen to remove 180 metric tons of derelict Dungeness crab pots and other fishing debris that is dangerous to fishing boats and marine life. The project expects to create or maintain 48 jobs.

To read the full text of the eight final work plans or to learn more about the WCGA, please visit Two additional WCGA draft work plans on Sustainable Communities and Integrated Ecosystem Assessments are soon to be released for public comment.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Amateur radio operators fi ll communication gaps and provide situational awareness to emergency managers

In Oregon, about 1,800 RACES volunteers are authorized to work in state and county EOCs facilitating communication during disasters. For example, during the Great Coastal Gale of 2007 that knocked out communications to the state’s Columbia, Clatsop and Tillamook counties, hammessaging system called Winlink to transmit the counties’ requests for assistance to the state’s Office of Emergency Management.

“Monday morning the governor came in and we were briefing and later on
called amateur radio operators ‘angels’ because that was the only source of communication we had to the coast,” said Marshall McKillip, the Emergency Management Office’s communications officer.

Following the storm, Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongoski funded improvements to the state’s amateur radio infrastructure with a $250,000 grant for Winlink systems in each of the state’s 36 county-level EOCs. “We bought the appropriate equipment and then
organized the delivery, the set up, the training and everything with amateur radio resources,” McKillip said. “It was quite a task for the amateurs to take on,
but they did a great job.”

See the entire article at

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Oregon Provides Animal Response Trailers to Counties

A $52,000 Homeland Security grant has given Oregon an opportunity to be better prepared for taking care of livestock in natural disasters.

Four enclosed cargo trailers owned by the Oregon Department of Agriculture are supplied to counties throughout the state as part of a plan to rescue animals facing dangers due to disasters, such as floods.

Each trailer comes with a set of tools to help emergency responders.

"When natural disasters affect pets and livestock, it puts an additional burden on emergency response teams to find a way to take care of those animals," explains Don Hansen, ODA state veterinarian. "We've been working hard with emergency managers in the counties to develop plans that include what to do about companion animals and livestock should disasters strike Oregon."

A key part of the plan is the trailer fleet, designed to carry cages and watering and feeding tools. During a disaster, the trailers can be mobilized to the site and provide a portable corral and other equipment to hold livestock.

"We have pretty much everything you would need to set up a short term animal shelter," says Hansen.

"Having the ability to handle animals during disasters has been a major challenge. These trailers will save uncounted hours in getting needed shelter to a given location during an emergency situation."

Securing the federal grant was a joint effort on the part of ODA and Oregon Emergency Management. It is one of the latest pieces in an overall plan that considers the well-being of livestock in a disaster.

Each Oregon county has developed specific emergency response plans as part of an overall statewide effort led by ODA.

"We've aimed at uniformity around the state, but it would be naïve to think that one plan could be developed to fit every scenario in every county," says Hansen. "Each county has developed its own plan for evacuation to address its own capabilities and limitations."

Monday, May 17, 2010

Thanks to the Twitter feed of READYColorado for bringing this my attention.

The challenge of citizen preparedness is well illustrated by this letter to the editor to a newspaper in Canada during that nation’s Emergency Preparedness Week. I think anyone involved in public preparedness will empathize:

To the editor:

I guess everyone in Scugog Township is prepared for any emergency that may arise.

They must be, because at the end of Emergency Preparedness Week, on Saturday May 8, the No. 1 fire hall in Port Perry was open to everyone to learn about numerous ways to prepare for emergencies, and no one came.

I know my wife and I were not the only ones disappointed with the turnout. Five speakers were lined up to discuss anything and everything needed to prepare for disasters and emergencies of all kinds.

Some of the emergency situations noted in the past that have affected residents of Scugog were H1N1, increasing windstorms and severe summer weather numerous times, resulting in downed trees and other damage as well as the blackout of 2003.

Do you remember what you and your family went through during that blackout? Were you prepared? It could happen again. Will you be ready? Have you ever considered what could happen if flooding were to occur here? Think about broken dams, torrential rain and backed-up storm drains and septics.

At the seminar, tables were set up with giveaway information and supplies. Volunteers were on hand to inform and assist with information and to answer questions. Enbridge set up and prepared hot dogs, hamburgers and pop for visitors.

We want to thank the chief, the mayor and councillors and all the volunteers that were on hand for this event.

Bruno and Darlene Gauweiler Caesarea

Thursday, May 13, 2010

current statistics on citizen readiness “very concerning and frankly kind of frightening,”

Speaking at the Center For National Policy recently, Timothy Manning, FEMA Deputy Administrator for Protection & National Preparedness, said that the current statistics on citizen readiness “very concerning and frankly kind of frightening,” and he spoke about some of the agency’s efforts to strengthen the nation’s resilience to disasters.

At the Center’s event, “Disasters & Resilience,” Manning was questioned by the moderator Stephen Flynn, the Center’s new President, and one of the leading experts on the subject. The full text can be found here. It’s worth reading for those interested in preparedness policy.

In response to a question from Flynn about making preparedness and resilience part of the national culture, Manning acknowledged the challenge:

…the numbers are very concerning and frankly kind of frightening I think. We did a survey last year as part of our community preparedness programs, where we found the same numbers we’ve seen for a great number of years. So what we’ve been doing, we’ve been trying to engage the public for about 50 years in roughly the same way, all through the civil defense era, the Cold War, and to traditional emergency management now. And it’s really about PSAs and talking to the public about – some variation on have a plan, get involved. It’s really been about the same message and engaging the same way. And we’ve always seen the response engagement of the public in about 50 percent, hasn’t really moved. Slides a little bit here and there.

But what’s most concerning is that when you actually deconstruct that number and you ask, “have you actually done this, have you done this, have you done this,” the things that we mean when we say “are you prepared,” the number’s actually in the 30s. It’s actually about 37 or 40 percent. Most people, as like 67 percent of respondents, say that they plan on relying on government, that they won’t take any actions and they plan on relying on government in the first couple of days.

It’s very concerning. And we’re just discussing that the best response is the one we don’t have to mount. What we need to do is build our communities, build our societies to a point where they are prepared. But I think, like we’re trying to do across the whole spectrum of homeland security preparedness, we have to recognize our communities and we have to plan for the community, not just plan for easy. So we have – we say preparedness means this. Maybe we need to be a little bit more sophisticated than that. Maybe what we need to say is these are the things you can do to be prepared. But work at a more – work through our actual communities.

One interesting community-based initiative that Manning mentioned is an effort to build the preparedness of Los Angeles firefighters and their families to develop them as leaders (along the lines of the CERT program) in a potential disaster response.

There were a number of useful preparedness and resilience related topics covered during the discussion. But I wanted to highlight one point that Manning addressed on whether the agency was embracing an “all hazards” philosophy:

All-hazard – the old – the traditional doctrinal approach to emergency management has been one of preparing for all hazards and that was really the catch phrase, “all hazards emergency management.” And what that really meant was a maximization of resources, a realization that where the majority of the work, the preparedness and response work, happens is at the community level. It’s not at the federal level. The federal government’s job is mainly to step in and assist governors in assisting their local communities in a response. And when you get to the community level, the largest of the communities, in cities like New York and Los Angeles, notwithstanding those resources just aren’t there to do the level of detail planning required for each particular eventuality.

What we also know is that there is so much variation in any particular hazard that that doesn’t really bring a lot of value to the table sometimes. I think a good example is in the pandemic flu preparedness work that we’ve done over the past couple of years. It was really predicated on avian influenza and then influenza virus migrating from Asia, in East Asia.

When H1N1 popped up in North America, it was a novel virus really originating here, much of the detailed work we did was not as usable as it could have been had we taken a broader approach. The all-hazard preparedness is a way to think about that. Where it gets or it can get difficult or it can get tricky is that there are obviously very specific things that are required for some specific hazards. There is those large percentages, that 50 to 60 percent of the work that you need to do to prepare for a hurricane is also the same you need to do in response to an earthquake or an accident or a terrorist attack. But there are those – the balance of things are very different.

The response, the capability, the equipment, the training you need to respond to a nuclear, a ND, a nuclear detonation is different than the response, the capability, the training, the equipment you need to respond to a radiological accident. So we have to keep that in mind. So while we can focus a great deal of our efforts on those few things that have value across the whole spectrum of accidents, the normal daily public safety to natural disasters or intentional terrorist attacks, we cannot lose sight of those things that are specific to the individual hazards or a particular attack tactic.

There are large numbers of things that we need to individually focus on as well. But if I may, I think that another important piece to this, though, it’s not just been an all-hazard preparedness in the way that we’ve been doing it for a long time. That there is a – there can sometimes be a tendency to say that all-hazard emergency management is simply a back to the future, a slide back to the way we had done in the 1990s. But that loses sight of what we’ve learned. And the recent shift towards thinking of things in the terms of resilience is really another way to think of all-hazard emergency management, where it’s less about what are the discrete preparedness things we need to do to be able to respond to this set of disasters, but what are those things that we can do in our communities that offer second and third order effects. They get us where we want to be.

I agree with Manning that the old ‘all hazards’ framework is not adequate for the range of present threats — for policy makers, responders and the public. From a citizen perspective on what we need to know to be prepared and informed, there are definitely commonalities between hazards. However the differences, as Manning points out, can be important. In fact, I have argued on the blog that when it comes to what the public should be aware of there are sometimes commonalities that cut across hazards (ie. pandemic/bioterror attack) rather than all hazards and some threats may need to be redefined to reflect their real impact (ie. should a ‘dirty bomb’ or chemical attack be considered a WMD along with a nuclear and biological attack?).

But modifying the all hazards approach also raises the stakes for the government to inform the public of what more they need to know about various threats (which by and large has not been done). And, I would contend that the more Americans have been told beforehand will only increase their resilience and ability to bounce back quickly from disasters (particularly terrorism).

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

2010 Ushers In Increased Wildfire Risk For NW

Wed, 12 May 2010 08:34:45 -0500
SEATTLE, Wash. -- El Nino weather patterns and a relatively mild winter left Idaho, eastern Washington and south central Oregon drier than normal and vulnerable to wildfire. In addition to urging extreme caution with campfires, fireworks, trash fires, grills and other heat sources, FEMA Acting Regional Administrator Dennis Hunsinger encourages residents living on wooded lots and wildland/urban interface areas to stay informed on local conditions.

USFA Releases Grill Fires on Residential Properties Report

USFA Press Office: (301) 447-1853
Washington, DC — The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) United States Fire Administration (USFA) issued a special report today examining the characteristics of grill fires on residential properties. The report, Grill Fires on Residential Properties, was developed by USFA’s National Fire Data Center and is further evidence of FEMA’s commitment to sharing information with fire departments and first responders around the country to help them keep their communities safe.

“Grills, hibachis, and barbecues on residential properties continue to be a high fire risk,” said Kelvin J. Cochran, United States Fire Administrator. “It is crucial that households be mindful of fire safety when using these pieces of equipment, especially as the summer season approaches. Please join with the USFA in sharing this report’s information with your communities so that the necessary precautions can be taken to help prevent fires and save lives.”

The report is part of the Topical Fire Report Series and is based on 2006 to 2008 data from the National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS). According to the report, an estimated 5,700 grill fires on residential properties occur annually in the United States, resulting in an estimated average of 10 deaths, 100 injuries, and $37 million in property loss. Over half (57 percent) of grill fires on residential properties occur in the four months of May, June, July, and August and almost half (49 percent) of these fires occur during the hours of 5 to 8 p.m. In addition, 32 percent of grill fires on residential properties start on patios, terraces, screened-in porches, or courtyards, while an additional 24 percent start on exterior balconies and unenclosed porches. Finally, propane is the power source in 69 percent of all grill fires on residential properties.

The topical reports are designed to explore facets of the U.S. fire problem as depicted through data collected in NFIRS. Each topical report briefly addresses the nature of the specific fire or fire-related topic, highlights important findings from the data, and may suggest other resources to consider for further information. Also included are recent examples of fire incidents that demonstrate some of the issues addressed in the report or that put the report topic in context.

For further information regarding other topical reports or any programs and training available at the United States Fire Administration, visit

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Preparing For The Next Haiti, With Maps, Texts, And Tweets

Nathan Hodge of’s Danger Room blog has a good post, Preparing For The Next Haiti, With Maps, Texts, And Tweets, which discusses the impressive high-tech volunteer response to the earthquake. Hodge attended the Haiti Tech Meetup yesterday at the U.S. State Department yesterday and spoke to a number of those involved in the recovery effort:

In the weeks following the January 12 earthquake, the relief effort in Haiti relied in part on crowdsourcing: an army of volunteers in the United States and elsewhere helped sift through emergency text messages, translated them and send them on to first responders on the scene. According to Rob Munro, a graduate fellow at Stanford who works with the nonprofit Energy for Opportunity, about 40,000 useful text messages came through the system in the first six weeks, meaning that thousands of Haitians received timely requests for food, water or medical help.

At the height of the crisis, texts were arriving every few seconds. But volunteers were able to receive a message, translate it and and send a grid location to teams on the ground within a matter of minutes. But the high-tech Haiti volunteer response also depended in large part on personal connections, and the mobilization of the Haitian diaspora in North America, for it to work. Now development agencies, relief workers and even the U.S. government are looking at ways to reproduce the experiment in the next emergency…

The full article can be found here

Friday, May 7, 2010

FEMA News Release on Preparing Pets for Disasters

Today FEMA put out a news release on how pet owners can get their pets ready for disasters, especially since hurricane season is coming soon. You can read more at

WASHINGTON - With less than a month until the beginning of the 2010 Atlantic hurricane season on June 1, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) urges Americans to ensure their families, homes and businesses are prepared for the risks associated with hurricanes, tropical storms and other emergencies. Individuals and families are encouraged to have a family communications plan, put together an emergency kit and include their pets in their planning efforts. FEMA recognizes Saturday, May 8, 2010 as National Animal Disaster Preparedness Day.

"As hurricane season approaches, FEMA is coordinating with state and local officials to ensure that all communities along the coast are prepared to respond. But we can only be as prepared as the public, and so it's important that everyone take steps now to help keep their family safe in the event of a hurricane or other emergency. This includes their pets," said FEMA Deputy Administrator Rich Serino.

FEMA encourages pet owners to take the following steps:

Be informed: Know what emergencies happen in your community and how those events could impact your pet;

Prepare: Put together pet emergency kit specific to your pets needs; and

Plan: Develop a plan for what you will do with your pets in the event of an emergency. To learn more about the steps pet owners can take to prepare your pets for a disaster.
To learn what you can do to prepare your family and your pets, visit

To view a message from FEMA Deputy Administrator Rich Serino, visit

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Red Cross Message About Volcanoes

The Red Cross has issued a preparedness message on how to be prepared for volcano disasters.

Preparing for Events, Volcanoes
Explosive volcanoes blast hot solid and molten rock fragments and gases into the air. As a result, ashflows can occur on all sides of a volcano and ash can fall hundreds of miles downwind. Dangerous mudflows and floods can occur in valleys leading away from volcanoes. If you live near a known volcano, active or dormant, be prepared to follow instructions from your local emergency officials.

Learn about your community warning systems and emergency plans.

Be prepared for the hazards that can accompany volcanoes:

Mudflows and flash floods
Landslides and rockfalls
Ashfall and acid rain

Make evacuation plans. If you live in a known volcanic hazard area, plan a route out and have a backup route in mind.

Check it out at