Tuesday, June 1, 2010

National Hurricane Preparedness Week, May 23-29, 2010

The 2010 Atlantic Hurricane Season officially starts on June 1, 2010 and all MEDVAMC employees, volunteers, Veterans, and family members are encouraged to keep current with weather conditions. It is important to prepare your family for unexpected disasters and emergencies.

Talk with your supervisor now to find out if you are required to report to duty during an emergency situation. If you are required to report for duty, make plans to keep your family, pets, home, and property safe. The MEDVAMC is a shelter of last resort for families and pets.

Visit http://www.houston.va.gov/emergency/index.asp or www.hurricanes.gov/prepare for emergency preparedness tips, useful Web sites and telephone numbers, emergency preparedness guides, suggestions for a disaster supplies kit, and more.

Harris County has established storm evacuation zones for the Houston-Galveston area using zip codes. To find out if you live in an evacuation zone, visit http://www.hcoem.org/HCMap.aspx?P=Evacuation.

For VA updates and the latest VA emergency response information, call the MEDVAMC Emergency Information Hotline at (713) 794-8989 or 1-800-553-2278, ext. 8989.

If you would like to have MEDVAMC updates delivered to your private e-mail address during emergency situations, please send the address to bobbi.gruner@va.gov. If you previously signed up for these updates, you must resubmit your email address.

Hurricane Awareness Tips

When Local Officials Call For An Evacuation:
When there is a hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico, fill your gas tank and keep it full. Start monitoring radio and TV broadcasts -- and listen to instructions from local officials. Hurricanes may take several days to arrive. Make evacuation plans before the storm. Get your emergency supply kit ready to go -- with food, water, batteries, and other supplies. When local officials call for a mandatory evacuation, follow instructions.

Emergency Supply Kit:
Emergencies and disasters can happen any time. Keep emergency supplies on hand in your home, office, and car - especially during hurricane season. You will need non-perishable food, water, and batteries. You will also need cash, credit cards, copies of medical prescriptions, and insurance information. Do not forget medications, special health care needs, and products for yourself, babies, or the elderly. When local officials call for a mandatory evacuation, top off your gas tank before you get on the road.

On The Road in an Evacuation:
Hurricanes are extremely dangerous. Make evacuation plans in advance. Keep highway maps in your car and learn evacuation routes before the storm. When local officials call for a mandatory evacuation - highways will be crowded. Watch for Texas department of transportation highway signs - and listen to your car radio. Remember, make travel plans in advance, monitor TV and radio -- and expect your trip to take longer than usual.

Family Communications in Emergencies:
When disaster strikes, your family needs a place to call and a place to meet. Plan ahead to keep in touch. Choose a location in your town to meet if your neighborhood is blocked off. When local telephones do not work, you may still be able to call out-of-state. Choose a friend or relative out of state -- and teach your kids the phone number. Remember, plan for emergencies with your family. Choose a place to call and a place to meet.

Leave Early With Fragile Family Members:
Hurricanes are dangerous and unpredictable. Make special plans for babies - the elderly - and medically fragile family members. It will take much longer to travel during a mandatory evacuation. Make sure your emergency kit includes supplies and equipment for special health care needs - and supplies for babies and the elderly. Make travel easier for family members with special needs. Leave before the official evacuation begins.

Leave Early If You Have Special Health Care Needs:
When a hurricane threatens, be prepared. It will take much longer to travel during a mandatory evacuation. If you have got special health care needs - and you can travel on your own – it is a good idea to leave ahead of the crowd. Make your evacuation plans in advance. Bring special medical supplies along with your emergency kit. Learn your routes ahead of time. Avoid crowded highways. Leave early - before a mandatory evacuation begins.

Traveling With Extra Vehicles? Leave Early:
When a hurricane threatens, be smart. Do not make traffic worse. If you have extra vehicles, get them out early - before a mandatory evacuation. If you wait until the mandatory evacuation - take only one vehicle. Remember, if you want to travel with a boat, a camper, an extra car, or truck – do not crowd the highways. Get these extra vehicles out of the evacuation zone before local officials order a mandatory evacuation.

Hurricane Watch and Hurricane Warning:
Hurricanes are dangerous and unpredictable. They can get much stronger - and change directions -- in a matter of hours. A hurricane watch means a hurricane is about 36 hours away. A hurricane warning means a hurricane will hit your area in 24 hours. When a storm is anywhere in the Gulf of Mexico, be prepared to evacuate. Make your evacuation plans now -- before a storm. And get your emergency supplies together now -- before a storm.

Life-Threatening Emergency:
If you have a life-threatening emergency, immediately call 911. Do not wait until the storm is upon you, the police and rescue teams will not be able to assist you at that time. Prepare your personal or family evacuation plan now.

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