Today we released the 2016 National Preparedness Report, an important guidepost in our work to build a stronger, more resilient America. The findings of this year’s report are significant. This vital information is analyzed to gauge the progress that community partners—including all levels of government, private and nonprofit sectors, faith-based organizations, communities, and individuals—are making to prepare for a wide array of threats and hazards. We should be prepared for all hazards, from hurricanes and tornadoes to earthquakes and terrorist attacks.
The good news is that this year’s report shows an increase in community resilience over the past three years. This matters because we know that the more resilient communities are before a disaster hits, the faster and stronger they’ll bounce back if disaster strikes. The bad news is that this year’s report also shows that the percentage of Americans who have developed and discussed a household emergency plan with their families has fallen for two years in a row. We must avoid becoming complacent in taking deliberate steps to be prepared for the unexpected.
Being prepared for disasters is a shared responsibility among all of us. And today, as we mark the beginning of the Atlantic hurricane season, I want to encourage everyone – families, communities and businesses - to take action now to prepare.
We’ve been lucky over the past several years. The United States has not had a significant impact from a hurricane or tropical storm since Hurricane Sandy struck in 2012. But luck isn’t a strategy when it comes to being ready. As we’ve seen too many times before, all it takes is one major hurricane or tropical storm to devastate a community, neighborhood, or family.
When a hurricane hits, it can bring high winds, heavy rainfall, coastal and inland flooding, rip currents, and even tornadoes. Storm surge produced by hurricanes poses the greatest threat to life and property along the coast. The destructive power of storm surge can travel several miles inland, and large battering waves can result in loss of life, buildings destroyed and road and bridge damage along coastal areas. That’s why if you live in an area where hurricanes are a threat, you need to know where you’d go before the danger arrives and makes evacuation impossible.
We are not powerless against the threat of these disasters. Here are three simple steps you should take today to prepare:
We want everyone to enjoy the summer without having to worry about what to do when severe weather threatens. The best way to do that is to prepare now and know what you’re going to do in the event of a hurricane. Planning ahead gives you more options and better control over situations that could become chaotic at the last moment if you’re not ready. To learn more about how to prepare for a hurricane visit ready.gov/hurricanes.