Agencies urge public to prepare for hurricane season


By John McPhaul

jpmcphaul@gmail.com


The island Bureau of Emergency Management and Disaster Administration (NMEAD by its Spanish acronym), the National Weather Service (NWS) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) are joining forces to urge every member of communities throughout Puerto Rico to prepare now for this hurricane season.


With atmospheric disturbances approaching the Caribbean area, government emergency response agencies are staying alert and reviewing the plans they have been working with.

Experience has taught them that preparedness must occur at all levels of the community, the agencies said in a press release.


“When we develop a family plan, we must prepare for additional elements such as the tremors we continue to experience and COVID-19 preventive measures,” said NMEAD Acting Commissioner Nino Correa. “We work in conjunction with FEMA, the NWS, all components of the Department of Public Safety and the mayors to be ready for any situation.”


Meanwhile, the meteorologist in charge of the NWS in San Juan, Roberto García, emphasizes that “[t]he dangers associated with tropical cyclones are not only wind related.”


“In Puerto Rico, the impacts associated with rainfall have caused greater loss of life and property damage, whether from flooding or landslides,” he said. “It does not have to be a hurricane, as a tropical storm or tropical depression could cause much damage and loss of life. Do not wait, get ready now.”


Those living in areas prone to floods, landslides, or similar hazards should identify evacuation routes and the nearest shelters. They should gather enough supplies and medications for at least 10 days, including a gallon of water daily for each family member, and for pets. They should also include enough masks and hand sanitizer.


Orlando Olivera, coordinator of FEMA’s Caribbean Area Office in Puerto Rico, said that “[i]n collaboration with [NMEAD] and the NWS we have offered emergency incident preparedness workshops to the governor, his cabinet, agency leads, mayors, the legislative body, non-governmental organizations, and the private sector, among others.”


“Individuals and their families must now assess their risks and what their needs would be at home, at work and in their community if an emergency occurs and get prepared for it,” he said.


For more information on how to get prepared, visit www.ready.gov. Download the FEMA mobile app on your phone to learn how to respond to an emergency. Follow the FEMA Puerto Rico page on Facebook for tips and updated information.