Preparing for Hurricane Season

Preparing for Hurricane Season
The Atlantic hurricane season of 2017 was one of the most active on record with 17 named storms, 6 of which became hurricanes of category 3 or stronger. Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands are still dealing with recovery from Hurricanes Irma, Harvey, and Maria. With warming oceans contributing to more powerful storms, states, organizations, and individuals should ensure that their preparedness efforts are proactive and include behavioral health considerations.
The following resources offer tips for hurricane preparedness, lessons learned from past storms, and ways the public can do their part to ensure they are ready before a storm looms.
Disaster-specific Resources: Hurricanes
This installment of the SAMHSA Disaster Behavioral Health Information Series focuses on hurricane preparedness, response, and recovery, as well as behavioral health issues related to hurricanes. Resources include checklists, journal articles, blog posts, websites, and fact sheets. Information about floods, which may occur in association with a hurricane, is also provided. Hurricanes
This webpage provides an overview of hurricanes and practical steps individuals can take to be as prepared as possible for a hurricane. Information is provided on what to do when a hurricane is coming as well as what to do before hurricane season, such as making an emergency plan.
Preparing for Storms and Weathering Floods and Power Outages
This comprehensive webpage from the New York State Department of Health offers several fact sheets in English and Spanish about how individuals can be prepared for the effects of storms and floods. It provides practical advice on staying safe from dangers such as carbon monoxide and the mold that may grow as a result of flooded property.
Prepare Your Organization for a Hurricane Playbook
This guidebook from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) provides community leaders and employers with tools and resources to support preparedness efforts. It contains talking points for a preparedness discussion, a tabletop exercise to hold with employees, and suggestions for maintaining the preparedness momentum year-round.
FEMA Promising Practice: Inclusive Emergency Management Practices in Vermont
This presentation from the Pacific Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) Center highlights the lessons learned from Vermont’s response to Hurricane Irene to emphasize the importance of developing emergency planning processes that are inclusive of people with disabilities and other functional and access needs. In addition to video and audio playback of the presentation, transcripts and presentation files are also available.
Shouting in the Dark: Emergency Communication in USVI After Irma and Maria
This blog post from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention describes how the Director of Public Relations with the U.S. Virgin Islands’ Department of Health (DOH) led communication efforts to reach people on the U.S. Virgin Islands when Hurricanes Irma and Maria hit them in September 2017. The post details how the Director of Public Relations and DOH communicated with islanders using press releases, public service announcements, social media, and the radio about hazards and ways to stay safe during and after the hurricanes. The blog post also conveys the challenges of serving as a leader and spokesperson when you are a member of a disaster-affected community.
Major Hurricanes: Potential Public Health and Medical Implications
This document from the HHS Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response Technical Resources, Assistance Center, and Information Exchange (ASPR TRACIE) provides an overview of the potential significant public health and medical response and recovery needs facing hurricane-affected areas. It includes a section about behavioral health and provides links for further information.
Subscribe to The Dialogue
The Dialogue is a quarterly e-newsletter that provides practical and down-to-earth information for disaster behavioral health coordinators, local service providers, federal agencies, and nongovernmental organizations. You can subscribe to the newsletter or contact the SAMHSA Disaster Technical Assistance Center (DTAC) by email at to contribute an article to an upcoming issue.

Questions About the SAMHSA DTAC Bulletin?
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The views, opinions, and content expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions, or policies of the Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS), the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), or the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

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