FEMA urges preparation for hurricanes, tropical storms

WASHINGTON, D.C – With just over a month until the beginning of the 2010 Atlantic hurricane season on June 1, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is urging folks to ensure their families, homes and businesses are prepared for the risks associated with hurricanes and tropical storms.

Individuals and families are encouraged to have a family communications plan and get a kit with essential items like non-perishable food, bottled water, spare batteries, a can opener and specialty items like spare eyeglasses.

As hurricanes and tropical storms move inland, the high winds are often accompanied by torrential rains that increase the likelihood of flooding.  Residents should know their risks, now, and invest in flood insurance to protect their homes and property.  There is typically a 30 day waiting period before a policy takes effect, so the time to act is now.

"As hurricane season approaches, FEMA is coordinating with state and local officials to ensure that all communities along the coast are prepared to respond," said FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate.  "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.  These steps include making a family communications plan, putting together an emergency kit, staying informed of risks and weather forecasts in your area, and considering flood insurance."

Flood insurance is available through approximately 85 insurance companies in more than 20,800 participating communities nationwide.  Most everyone can purchase flood insurance – including renters, business owners, and homeowners.  Flood insurance is also affordable, with policies starting at $119 a year.  Individuals can learn more about their flood risk and flood insurance options by visiting www.FloodSmart.gov or calling 1-800-427-2419.

To learn what you can do to prepare for hurricane season, visit www.Ready.gov.  FEMA also recently launched a mobile version of its website, making it easier to access critical information regarding emergency preparedness and what to do before and after a disaster from a smartphone.  The site can be accessed at m.fema.gov.

To learn about your flood risk, visit www.FloodSmart.gov.