Today marks the first day of hurricane season, and state and local emergency managers are dispersing information for the public and preparing their districts for the destructive storms.
The South Carolina Emergency Management Division created a hurricane guide that's posted online and being distributed in local newspapers. According to Derrec Becker, a public information officer for the division, the state began creating the preparedness guide in 1999 after being struck by Hurricane Floyd and realizing that pertinent information wasn't readily available for South Carolina citizens.
He said more than 750,000 copies of the guide are distributed from Columbia to the coast, and residents are encouraged to keep one copy at home and one in their vehicles.
"The guide is a result of us working together with other state agencies and nonprofits," Becker said. "We spend six months compiling all of the information and updating it every year with shelter locations, evacuation routes, what to do with your pets. So we really work as a team, the whole state emergency response team, to put this information together."
He said South Carolina was the first state to create such a guide, but Louisiana has copied it and published its own guide this year.
The Florida Division of Emergency Management released the results of a poll that it conducted to assess hurricane awareness and safety issues among Florida residents. The poll was first administered following the 2008 hurricane season, and the recent one was completed in May 2009.
According to a report, key findings from the poll include:
"This survey is a useful tool for assessing state and local emergency managers' efforts to prepare Florida's residents for the upcoming hurricane season," said Ruben D. Almaguer, interim director of the Florida Division of Emergency Management, in a statement. "It highlights the continuous need for local and state emergency managers to educate and assist Floridians to prepare their families and communities for severe weather."
According to a statement, the Federal Emergency Management Agency is preparing and for the 2009 hurricane season by: