The Virgin Islands Territorial Emergency Management Agency and Governor John P. de Jongh Jr. join the rest of the nation in marking National Hurricane Preparedness Week, May 23 – 29, with a call for all Virgin Islanders to begin preparations for the 2010 Atlantic Hurricane Season.
“Many of us have survived our share of hurricanes, but we cannot become complacent in our efforts to be prepared,” said Gov. deJongh. “We must take the necessary steps to protect ourselves, our families, our business and our community.”
On Monday, VITEMA and the Office of the Governor participated in a conference call with Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Craig Fugate and officials from the National Hurricane Center at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
With the start of the 2010 Atlantic Hurricane Season just days away, the National Hurricane Center is continuing its work to give citizens more notice before impending storms. “But while advancements have been made in forecasting and tracking hurricanes, the National Hurricane Center stresses that these storms can intensify with little warning,” said Director Mark A. Walters of VITEMA, “A hurricane is an area-wide impact of high winds, storm surges, flooding and tornadoes.”
VITEMA is urging everyone to make time this hurricane season to develop a family disaster plan, to ensure an emergency supply kit is on-hand and to stay informed. Important items to have ready in case of an emergency include a battery-powered radio, flashlight, extra batteries, medicines, non-perishable food, hand-operated can opener, utility knife and first aid supplies.
“Everyone should be prepared to be self-sustaining for at least three days,” Walters said. He added that important documents should be placed in a waterproof bag. These may include medical records, contracts, property deeds, leases, banking records, insurance records and birth certificates. “The better prepared we are, the lesser the impact of these and the more resilient we can be,” he said.
This is also the time to consider the needs of everyone in the household including a person with a disability, he said. To learn more about preparedness visit www.Ready.gov
or call Director Walters at 774-2244.