Friday, August 26, 2011

Wating for Irene: Hurricane Tips

NJ librarians stay in constant contact about all things librarianish by means of a list-serv, which is a closed email network. Each morning NJ librarians can expect an inbox full of library lore, tips, disasters, continuing education opportunities, technology updates and so on. This morning, we received this email about the impending Hurricane Irene which even as I type and you read is barreling relentlessly toward the hapless Garden State. I share it here so I don't have to reinvent the wheel of hurricane preparedness. However, I have highlighted in yellow the stuff you really need to know so you can skim it quickly before running around bringing in lawn furniture, hanging plants and other potential projectiles. This is no laughing matter, being hit by a flying pot of petunias is the leading cause of hurricane related visits to the E.R. involving flowers.  Blogger's notes are in italics and I have reduced the size of redundant or ridiculous text.
"Hurricane Irene Forecast Impact on New Jersey Could be Severe"

It appears the greatest impact from Irene will be felt overnight Saturday through about midday Sunday. Here are some disaster planning, response and recovery resources for your library, for your personal safety, and even for your pets:

STORM TRACKER (nb: this is a link that doesn't work, to a map so you can see exactly where Irene is at all times.)

FOR YOUR LIBRARY (NB: non-librarians can safely skip this part) Emergency Responders:
General Disaster & Preservation Information:
Disaster Preparedness & Recovery Tools & Salvage Charts:
24/7 Disaster Assistance Hotline, Northeast Document Conservation Center: 978-470-1010
ALA Disaster Response Resources

August 24, 2011
No.: HQ-11-134
FEMA News Desk: 202-646-3272

As Hurricane Irene Approaches, FEMA Urges East Coast Resident to Be Prepared
Residents Should Follow the Instructions of Local Officials and Visit or to Prepare for Hurricanes and Severe Weather

WASHINGTON - As Hurricane Irene moves toward the East Coast of the United States, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is urging all residents in East Coast states to take steps now to prepare their families and businesses for hurricanes and severe weather. Visit or for helpful tips on preparing for hurricanes, flash flooding and other disasters.

According to the National Weather Service, Hurricane Irene is now a category three hurricane and will move across the southeastern and central Bahamas today and over the northwestern Bahamas on Thursday. For more forecast information from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) National Hurricane Center, click here.

"FEMA, along with the entire federal family, continues to closely monitor Hurricane Irene," said FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate. "We remain in close contact and coordination with all of our state and territorial partners in the Caribbean and along the East Coast that have already or could possibly experience impacts from this storm. Hurricane Irene's future path is still uncertain, and I encourage everyone to visit and take steps now to keep their family safe and secure. The most important thing for people to do right now is to listen to and follow the instructions of their local officials. If you are told to evacuate, evacuate."

As Hurricane Irene approaches the East Coast, FEMA, through its regional offices in Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and Atlanta, continues to monitor the storm closely and is in close contact with their respective state emergency management agencies.

In advance preparation for the storm, FEMA has deployed National Incident Management Assistance Teams to staging areas in Georgia and Virginia, in anticipation of further deployment to potential impact areas along the east coast of the U.S. Additionally, at all times, FEMA maintains commodities, including millions of liters of water, millions of meals and hundreds of thousands of blankets, strategically located at distribution centers throughout the United States and its territories. In Atlanta, for instance, FEMA has more than two million liters of water, more than 1.3 million meals, and more than 16,000 cots and 56,000 blankets. These resources may be moved to Incident Support Bases, which are distribution centers located closer to the impacted areas, as needed and requested by state partners.

These commodities are meant to supplement state resources if needed, but it is critical that individuals and families that are able build their own emergency supply kits, so that in the event of a disaster, state and local resources can be focused on our most vulnerable citizens.

FEMA is coordinating across the federal government to ensure territorial and state officials have the support they need as they respond to or prepare for Irene. New actions as of today include, but are not limited to:

• The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has started deploying members of the 249th Engineering Battalion (Prime Power) to Puerto Rico to assist with restoring power to the island.
• The Federal Communications Center (FCC) has deployed two Roll Call Spectrum Scanning teams to the FEMA regional offices in Atlanta and Boston. These teams conduct post scans after landfall to determine which critical communications systems might have been impacted.
• Health and Human Services (HHS) is prepared to provide public health and medical support to states along the east coast in response to Hurricane Irene. The HHS is also coordinating with public health and emergency management agencies in U.S. territories and states along the projected hurricane path to make information available on how people can protect their health as they prepare for and respond to hurricanes and other natural disasters.
• The U.S. Northern Command (NORTHCOM) has activated a Defense Coordinating Officer to the FEMA Regional Response Coordination Center in Atlanta in preparation for support to civil authorities as Hurricane Irene approaches the East Coast of the United States.
• The Department of Defense has designated Fort Bragg, North C Incident Support Base to support FEMA operations to respond to Hurricane Irene.

Click here for the previous update on these activities.

FEMA encourages everyone, regardless of whether they live in a hurricane-prone area, to take steps to ensure their families, homes and businesses are prepared for a possible emergency. As a reminder, the month of September is designated as National Preparedness Month (NPM), an opportunity to encourage Americans to be prepared for disasters or emergencies in their homes, businesses, and communities. Individuals and families can learn about events and activities, and groups can register to become a NPM Coalition Member by visiting NPM is sponsored by the Ready Campaign in partnership with Citizen Corps and The Ad Council.

FEMA's support of disaster response activities in Puerto Rico, and its proactive support for East Coast storm preparations, does not diminish its focus from critical federal disaster response and recovery operations that continue, across the nation, including flooding in the Midwest and the ongoing recovery from the southeastern tornadoes. Every disaster is a reminder that they can happen anytime, anywhere. Now is the time to prepare--visit or for tips on creating your family emergency plan and putting together an emergency supplly kit.

Follow FEMA online at,,, and Also, follow FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate's activities at

The social media links provided are for reference only. FEMA does not endorse any non-government websites, 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.

Here is New Jersey’s state plan for dealing with pets in a disaster. It was formulated after Katrina, when so many pets were lost or their owner had to leave them behind.

Stay safe!"

Blogger's endnote:    So there your have it in a nutshell. A very big nutshell. Luckily for you, Dear Reader, I have predigested not only FEMA's, but our entire "Federal Family's" press releases for you and so it bears repeating, watch out for flying petunia pots. I recently learned from my Facebook Friends that the reason people buy bread and milk and toilet paper before storms is that these people plan to make milk sandwiches and wrap them in toilet paper to protect them.

Good luck everyone and stay dry!

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