By Elias Rodriguez
How does one deal with generator exhaust, household hazardous waste, sewage overflows or the ubiquitous mold that lingers inside your home after severe weather? June 1 through November 30 is hurricane season and New York City is making strides in preparing for the storm surges and flooding that appear to be more frequent as evidenced by Hurricane Sandy in 2012.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is predicting a 70 percent likelihood of six to 11 named storms this year. Advance preparation is a wise decision as more data shows that wacky weather is likely become more frequent or intense with changes in climate.
Among the devastating toll on life and property, flooding and winds during Sandy impacted more than 200 wastewater treatment plants and over 80 drinking water facilities in New Jersey and New York, causing damage and power failures that resulted in the release of over 10 billion gallons of raw sewage into local waters and the shutdown of drinking water plants in dozens of communities.
People should take an active role in applying lessons that have been learned from past storms. Any time of the year is a good occasion to resupply that emergency kit, update your emergency contacts and take other simple steps to prepare. Ready.gov or Listo.gov are great places to load up on tips and resources. Emergency management takes preparation and can be customized based on your own family’s needs.
For New Yorkers, the local government strongly encourages you to “Know Your Zone” and pinpoint your geographic area within the city’s hurricane evacuation zones. Based on their easy to search maps, you can see the risks you could potentially face from a hurricane and what to do for your health and safety.
About the Author: Elias serves as EPA Region 2’s bilingual public information officer. Prior to joining EPA, the proud Nuyorican worked at Time Inc. conducting research for TIME, LIFE, FORTUNE and PEOPLE magazines. He is a graduate of Hunter College, Baruch College and the Theological Institute of the Assembly of Christian Churches in NYC.