TRENTON, NJ — As the state marks Hurricane Preparedness Month, held each year in September, and the peak of hurricane season, New Jersey State Police Superintendent and state Director of Emergency Management Col. Patrick J. Callahan and New Jersey Commissioner of Environmental Protection Shawn M. LaTourette remind the public about the vital importance of being prepared as the risks from these powerful storms increase as a result of climate change.
“As we approach the 10-year anniversary of Superstorm Sandy and peak hurricane season begins, it is important to remember that preparedness is everyone’s responsibility, including those with special needs,” Callahan said. “Please make time with your family and significant others to assess your current preparedness plans, whether you need to shelter-in-place or evacuate. You can start by building an emergency kit, packing a family go-bag and creating a crisis communication plan. The time to prepare is now.”
“We are so fortunate to live in a coastal state with many miles of beautiful beaches and rivers to enjoy,” LaTourette said. “But we must not for a second believe that rebuilding beaches and building seawalls and levees will protect us from every eventuality that climate change can throw our way. Weather events are becoming more extreme and unpredictable. Every one of us must become smarter about the growing risks of climate change and take necessary actions to better protect ourselves and each other.”
To be better prepared for imminent weather emergencies, the state OEM recommends the following: Sign up for emergency alerts at nj.gov/njoem; register as needed on the New Jersey’s Special Needs Registry for Disasters; make an emergency kit, including at least a three-day supply of nonperishable food and water, prescription medications for up to two weeks if available, baby supplies, pet supplies, any additional items for special medical needs such as an extra pair of eyeglasses and batteries for hearing aids, important phone numbers, and car cell-phone chargers; using advice from nj.gov/plan-prepare/your-kit-plan.shtml, make a family go-bag in case of an evacuation order; and make an emergency plan.
To become better prepared for increasing climate change risks, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection recommends that residents purchase flood insurance; understand their flood risk; consider a buyout if a home is experiencing repeated and severe flood damage; and get “DEP Weather Ready” as outlined at tinyurl.com/4777243t.
Resilience planning and disaster preparedness is most effective when the entire community is involved. Resilient NJ is the DEP’s flagship resilience planning program and has regular funding opportunities for regions and municipalities to receive technical resilience planning assistance to benefit the whole community.
“For homeowners, the first steps toward resilience include learning about Resilient NJ, contacting local officials to learn more about their municipality’s climate resilience planning efforts, and taking the time to see what resources may be available to them,” New Jersey chief climate resilience officer Nicholas Angarone said. “The true keys to resilience are preparedness and education.”