- September 01, 2020
National Preparedness Month Prompts Individuals and Communities to Plan Ahead for Hurricanes, Storms, and Wildfires During Fall and Winter Months
It may seem counterintuitive, but the fall season is actually a time when hurricanes, thunderstorms, wildfires, and other natural disasters make their impressive mark across many areas of the U.S., often disrupting the rhythm of our daily lives. If you've seen the news lately, you've witnessed the wildfires in California, which experts now say are more severe than any previous time in history, and in an unprecedented moment, two hurricanes made landfall within days of each other on the Gulf Coast.
Hurricane season began June 1 and ends in late November but according to the National Weather Service, most of these storms peak in late September and October. You don't have to look too far back to remember Superstorm Sandy that hit the east coast in October 2012 to understand the power of these storms. And it's not just hurricanes or wildfires that make the news: the Plains and Great Lake regions often start their battle with freezing conditions and snowfall during the fall months.
This September, as we honor National Preparedness Month, it's incumbent upon all of us who are tasked with protecting people and property from fire, electrical, and related hazards to work together before emergencies affect our areas. The theme for this year's campaign, “Disasters Don't Wait. Make Your Plan Today,” reminds us that being better prepared before, during, and after an emergency is key to getting operations back to normal as quickly as possible.
NFPA has a wealth of information to help guide building owners and facility managers, first responders, health care facility managers, electrical professionals, and the public, as they prepare ahead of weather events in their area. These resources are free and can be easily shared:
For Facility Managers and Business Owners:
For First Responders:
- First responders face many hazards when working with vehicles that have been submerged in water, particularly with hybrid or electrical vehicles. NFPA's Submerged Hybrid/Electrical Vehicle Bulletin breaks down the safety issues to help keep first responders safe.
For Electrical Professionals:
- Electrical professionals are often tasked with equipment maintenance for electrical, electronic and communication systems and equipment found in multi-family residential complexes, industrial plants, and commercial buildings to prevent equipment failures and worker injuries. NFPA's Natural Disaster Electrical Equipment Checklist builds off of recommendations in Chapter 32 of the 2019 edition of NFPA 70B, Recommended Practice for Electrical Equipment Maintenance and provides a useful framework for recovering electrical equipment and systems after a disaster.
- A fact sheet and related information provides residents and businesses with easy wildfire risk reduction steps they can do around their homes and buildings to make them safer from wildfire and blowing embers.
- With the peak of hurricane and wildfire seasons upon us, government agencies and aid organizations will need to shelter potentially thousands of storm and fire evacuees. The latest NFPA Podcast, Disaster Planning During a Pandemic, introduces two emergency management experts who share lessons learned from responding to past incidents during the pandemic, including several new strategies that will likely stay long after the pandemic is over.
For Healthcare Providers:
With so much “weather” happening across the country, the time to start preparing communities is now. Make Preparedness Month the jump start you need to put your plans in place.
For these and other related information sources, visit www.nfpa.org/disaster. Get additional information about National Preparedness Month by visiting ready.gov/September.
Important Notice: Any opinion expressed in this column (blog, article) is the opinion of the author and does not necessarily represent the official position of NFPA or its Technical Committees. In addition, this piece is neither intended, nor should it be relied upon, to provide professional consultation or services.