FRAMINGHAM, Mass. (WPRI) — As Tropical Depression Barry continues to impact the South, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker has proclaimed the week of July 14-20 to be “Hurricane Preparedness Week” in an effort to emphasize the Bay State’s vulnerability to tropical storms and hurricanes.
“Planning in advance for a tropical storm or hurricane will help mitigate damage to your property, better protect your family and reduce the burden on public safety personnel in an emergency situation,” Baker said. “Our administration encourages residents in every region of the Commonwealth to develop an emergency plan, prepare emergency supplies and stay informed throughout hurricane season.”
Baker and the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) offered the following tips:
Know Your Evacuation Zone
- Massachusetts has established hurricane evacuation zones in each of the state’s coastal communities. These zones, designated as Zone A, Zone B and Zone C, identify the areas of coastal communities that are at risk for storm surge flooding from tropical storms or hurricanes. If evacuations are necessary because of an approaching tropical storm or hurricane, local or state officials will use the hurricane evacuation zones to call for people living, working or vacationing in these areas to evacuate.
Make an Emergency Plan
It’s important to have plans in case your family needs to take action before or during a storm:
- Communications Plan — Create a family communications plan so you can stay in touch and find each other in an emergency.
- Evacuation Plan — Create a family evacuation plan that details where you will go, how you will get there, what you will bring, and what you will do with your pets.
- Shelter-in-Place Plan — Make sure your family has a plan to shelter in place, which includes stockpiling items you will need to stay comfortable while you are at home. Be prepared to shelter in place for at least 72 hours.
MEMA says to make sure your emergency plans address the needs of all your family members including seniors, children, individuals with access and functional needs, and pets.
Build an Emergency Kit
Hurricanes can cause extended power outages, flooding, and blocked roads. You should have an emergency kit to sustain yourself and your family for at least 72 hours in case you lose power, are stranded in your home, or nearby stores are closed or damaged.
While it is important to customize your kit to meet your family’s unique needs, every emergency kit should include bottled water, food, a flashlight, a radio and extra batteries, a first aid kit, sanitation items, clothing, cash, and a charged cell phone. Depending on your family’s needs, emergency kits should also include medications, extra eyeglasses, medical equipment and supplies, children’s items such as diapers and formula, food and supplies for pets and service animals, and other items you or your family members might need during a disaster.
As a storm approaches, monitor media reports and follow instructions from public safety officials with these tools:
- Local Emergency Notification Systems — Check with your local emergency management director to see if your community uses an emergency notification system and how to enroll.
- Social Media — Follow your local public safety agencies on social media and MEMA on Twitter (@MassEMA) and Facebook for emergency updates during hurricanes.
- Mass 2-1-1 — Mass 2-1-1 is the state non-emergency call center for disasters. Call 2-1-1 to find out about shelter locations, travel restrictions, disaster assistance programs, and more. Mass 2-1-1 is free and available 24/7.