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Don’t Delay on Getting Ready for Hurricanes

OEM Has Guide, Red Cross Launches Phone App

Nearly a year after Hurricane Irene struck the New York City area, Queens Borough President Helen Marshall and the American Red Cross are urging Queens residents to be prepared in the event that a similar tropical storm should come this way later this summer and fall.

“Although the hurricane season began here on June 1, New York City is most vulnerable from August to October,” Marshall said. She went on to note that “you cannot prepare for an emergency after it happens. … Communities should prepare in advance for major weather events.”

The borough president reminds residents that the city’s Office of Emergency Management (OEM) has an updated Ready New York Hurricane Guide which details steps that residents should take before, during and after a hurricane or a major coastal storm. The guide is available free of charge in English, Spanish, Chinese, Russian, Arabic, Bengali, Haitian Creole, Italian, Korean, Polish, Urdu and Yiddish.

To receive a copy, visit www.nyc.gov/oem or call 311.

“Hurricane Irene made New Yorkers confront the dangers of storm surge flooding, high winds and heavy rain that accompany tropical storms,” said OEM Commissioner Joseph Bruno. “Preparation is key before any emergency, which is why we released the 2012 edition of the “Ready New York: Hurricanes and New York City” guide. It offers helpful instructions for making a hurricane emergency plan, features a map of the city’s hurricane evacuation zones and includes a list of hurricane evacuation centers in all five boroughs. All New Yorkers should take the time to know whether they live in a hurricane evacuation zone by checking the map in the hurricane guide or calling 311.”

The OEM also advised that individuals can sign up to receive emergency updates and information online and via e-mail, text message or phone through the city’s Notify NYC program at www.nyc.gov/nofifynyc.

The American Red Cross New York Chapter also announced the launch of its official Hurricane App, putting lifesaving information right in the hands of people who live in or who visit hurricane prone areas.

This free app is the second in a series to be created by the American Red Cross for use on both iPhone and Android platforms. It gives instant access to local and real time information on what to do before, during and after hurricanes.

Building on the Red Cross’ leadership in the social media space, the app also includes a number of features that allow people to monitor personalized weather alerts in locations where family and friends reside and share information with others in their social networks who might also need it.

“We want everyone to be to be ready for hurricanes,” said Josh Lockwood, CEO of the American Red Cross Greater New York Region. “The Red Cross Hurricane App allows people to receive and spread emergency information and to share their own status with friends and loved ones through social networks, anywhere, anytime.”

The launch of the Red Cross hurricane app comes just before what is traditionally the busiest period of the Atlantic hurricane season. Features of the app include:

– one touch “I’m safe” messaging that allows users to broadcast reassurance to family and friends via social media outlets that they are out of harm’s way;

– location-based NOAA weather alerts for the United States and its territories users can share on social networks;

– remote monitoring of personalized weather alerts where family and friends reside

– locations of open Red Cross shelters;

– simple steps and checklists people can use to create a family emergency plan;

– preloaded content that gives users instant access to critical action steps, even without mobile connectivity;

– toolkit with flashlight, strobe light and audible alarm; and

– badges users can earn through interactive quizzes and share on social networks.

The app enables people across the country to receive alerts for locations in areas where they like to vacation or where loved ones live, giving peace of mind to travelers, people who winter in warmer climates, and those with elderly relatives or college students in coastal areas.

National Red Cross experts in health, safety, and preparedness have thoroughly reviewed and field tested the information and advice provided in this app.

The Hurricane App follows the recently released Red Cross First Aid App which has had nearly 600,000 downloads in just six weeks. Testimonials and positive reviews have shown how dozens of people already have used the app to help in real-life situations.

The Hurricane and First Aid Apps can be found in the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store for Android by searching for American Red Cross or by visiting www.redcross.org/hurricaneapp.

Downloading the First Aid app is not a substitute for training. First Aid and CPR/AED training empowers people to know how to respond to emergencies in case advanced medical help is delayed. Visit www.red cross.org/takeaclass for course information and to register.

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