Posted by: njrigg | June 2, 2010

Hurricane Season Begins

Hurricane Season Begins

The Swiftwater Rescue News would like to remind all public safety agencies in hurricane prone areas that they need to be prepared to perform a variety of water rescues and help with evacuations – not just along the coast, dealing with storm surge issues, but also in inland flood zones, when rivers rise and flash flooding occurs.

Agencies need to prepare now to manage swiftwater and flood rescue operations using proper technical swiftwater and flood rescue equipment and protocols.

All agencies need to provide industry standard water rescue PPE (protective gear) to personnel to keep everyone safe and give potential victims a fighting chance to be rescued.

All government workers who are working in and around floodwater should be issued a properly fitted, US Coast Guard approved PFD (personal flotation device, life jacket) and required to wear it.

Los Angeles County, CA) Urban Search and Rescue Teams from the Los Angeles County Fire Department practice swiftwater rescue techniques during a training drill. Photo by: Jason Pack/FEMA News Photo

The predeployment of swiftwater rescue teams in advance of oncoming storms, especially in areas that may produce heavy inland flooding, is strongly recommended.

Nancy J. Rigg

Editor, Swiftwater Rescue News

Hurricane Season Begins

Bolivar Peninsula, TX, December 6, 2008 -- Specially trained cadaver locating dog "Cooper" (upper left) works a pile of debris while his trainer and flanker look on. Months after Hurricane Ike left the area a disaster, final sweeps are being made to determine that no human remains are still in the piles; clearing the way for cleanup crews to move in and start removing the mess. FEMA supports this mission, along with many others, as a community recovers after a disaster. Mike Moore/FEMA

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, Tuesday June 1, marks the official start of the 2010 Atlantic hurricane season that runs through the end of November.  Officials from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) spent the day urging American families, businesses and communities to take every possible precaution to prepare for hurricanes and other disasters.  FEMA continues to work with its state, local and federal partners to increase preparedness and coordinate response and recovery in the case of a hurricane or disaster, and uses the start of hurricane season to remind Americans to assess their personal readiness to respond to emergencies.

FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate spent the day at the FEMA Region IV offices in Atlanta, Ga., visiting with leadership and staff as they continue to plan and prepare for hurricanes and other emergencies that threaten the southeast.  FEMA Region IV encompasses Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Tennessee and Kentucky.

June 1 should serve as an important reminder about the need for individuals to be prepared for any emergency,” said Administrator Fugate. “This may be the start of the hurricane season, but emergencies can happen anytime, anywhere, and everyone needs to be prepared – not just those folks in hurricane prone states.”

Earlier today, FEMA Deputy Administrator Rich Serino marked the beginning of the season by giving the keynote address at the Delaware 2010 All-Hazards Preparedness Conference.  Serino stressed the importance of working together at the local, state and federal levels to prepare for all hazards, and the important role that individual preparedness plays in ensuring a strong response to hurricanes and other emergencies.

Everyone, including those living outside of hurricane-risk areas, should check their personal preparations and emergency kits, note any alerts

New Orleans, LA, September 8, 2005 -- An aerial view of a gas leak located next to a house impacted by Hurricane Katrina. New Orleans is being evacuated as a result of floods from hurricane Katrina. Thousand of people have been rescued from the flood waters by Urban Search and Rescue teams from around the country. Photo by Jocelyn Augustino/FEMA

or messages from local emergency officials, and rehearse emergency evacuation routes.  Emergency kit supplies should last at least 72 hours.

Important items to have ready in case of an emergency include a battery-powered radio, flashlight, extra batteries, medicine, non-perishable food, hand-operated can opener, utility knife and first aid supplies. All important documents should be copied and stored in a waterproof bag.  These may include medical records, contracts, property deeds, leases, banking records, insurance records and birth certificates.

When preparing for hurricane season and potential emergencies, the needs of all members of a household should be considered.  If a household includes a person with a disability, special steps to assist them may be necessary and should be incorporated into all emergency planning.

Pets also require special handling.  They may become agitated during the onset of a storm, so a pet carrier is a must for safe travel.  Pet owners should research pet boarding facilities now within a certain radius of where they may evacuate, since animals may not be welcome in all shelters or hotels.

The beginning of hurricane season is also the time to consider flood insurance coverage – most homeowners insurance does not cover flood damage.  Not only are homes and businesses in hurricane-prone states at risk for flooding, but inland flooding is common in nearby states.  To assess flood risk for a home or find a local agent selling national flood insurance, visit or call toll-free at 1-888-379-9531.

Galveston Island, TX, September 17, 2088 -- A volunteer for the Humane Society tends to a dog displaced by Hurricane Ike in a shelter set up to help animals displaced by the hurricane. Jocelyn Augustino/FEMA

As hurricane season gets underway, FEMA continues to support the coordinated federal response to the BP oil spill.  Planning for the 2010 hurricane season has involved consideration of the BP oil spill and its potential effects on all hurricane response and recovery scenarios.

To see a video message from Administrator Fugate about this hurricane season, visit

For more preparedness information, please visit and

Follow FEMA online at,, and  Also, follow Administrator Fugate’s activities at  The social media links provided are for reference only.  FEMA does not endorse any non-government Web sites, companies or applications.

FEMA’s mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.


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