With hurricane season coming, be prepared


The looming possibility of natural disasters — such as hurricanes and other severe storms — poses a significant, and ongoing, threat to Long Island, and particularly for those living in more vulnerable coastal communities, like Long Beach and Freeport, which are most susceptible to damage caused by high winds and surging floodwaters.

With hurricane season set to begin June 1, it is vital for all of us — especially those in communities with the highest risk — to take proactive measures to prepare. Resilience requires a strategy for severe weather conditions that are often unpredictable. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, that means:

  • Developing an evacuation plan
  • Assembling disaster supplies — including food, water, batteries, chargers, a radio and cash
  • Getting an insurance checkup and documenting your possessions
  • Creating a communication plan with a hand-written list of contacts
  • Strengthening your home

From a government standpoint, preparedness often begins with comprehensive planning and investment in resilient infrastructure. Following the damage wrought by tropical storms Irene and Lee in 2011 and Sandy in 2012, many coastal protection measures have been put into effect, including seawalls and reinforced jetties and dunes.

For instance, after Sandy decimated the boardwalk in Long Beach, the structure was strengthened when it was rebuilt, and sturdier dunes were constructed as an added layer of protection.

Collaborative initiatives involving local governments, community organizations and emergency responders foster a culture of resilience, strengthening the collective ability to withstand and recover from disasters.

In addition, having a robust early-warning system and evacuation plans in place can be essential in ensuring the safety of residents in the event of a major storm.

The disasters resulting from previous storms continue to serve as a glaring reminder, however, that even the best preparations may not be enough. It’s hard to forget the images of homes submerged, fallen trees damaging cars and blocking roadways, and long lines of vehicles at gas pumps.

So it never hurts to have additional plans of action. Remember to store some extra gas to provide power to emergency generators. Store backup batteries and chargers. Prepare to-go bags in an easy-to-access location. Have your home, auto and flood insurance information at the ready, just in case.

In the aftermath of any natural disaster, swift and coordinated recovery efforts are crucial. Having timely access to emergency services, temporary shelters and essential supplies is paramount to ensure the well-being of our communities.

And, as a storm approaches, it is of the utmost importance to listen to authorities, familiarize yourself with all available evacuation routes, and stay tuned for updates.

And always take warnings seriously. These storms cannot only destroy, they can kill. Being prepared, knowing what to do when a storm is on its way, and putting a plan in motion when the time comes is essential to staying safe and secure.