3 Lessons Learned From Hurricane Irene

In the wake of Hurricane Irene in August of 2011, many inadequacies emerged, mainly in the areas of disaster communication and response. And while the area has recovered — for the most part — after the storm there were many questions as to how local officials and emergency responders would react when the next big storm hits. A recent Town Hall Meeting in Dare County, North Carolina, attempted to address those concerns and the lessons learned from Hurricane Irene. What follows are some important lessons learned from Hurricane Irene, according to a report by http://islandfreepress.org.

1. Storm surge is just as important as storm category.

While hurricane category plays an important part in determining the wind intensity of a storm and any potential storm surge that it might bring, even low-intensity hurricanes can have higher-than-expected water levels. This is typically brought about when hurricanes hit during times of high tide, adding to the already-elevated water levels. The timing of storms need to be kept in mind when trying to determine the water levels that areas can expect.

2. Clear communication is vital before, during, and after a storm hits.

It is crucial for any emergency planning commission to put clear lines of communication at the top of their agenda. Less than ideal means of communicating makes it harder for emergency responders, as well as cleanup crews, to do their job properly. In most crisis situations it is communication that is tagged as the area needing the most improvement. Agencies should treat it as an area of critical importance.

3. Improvement of transportation to hard-to-reach areas.

It is hard-to-reach areas that typically need the most aid when a disaster strikes. Making sure roadways, isolated areas by rivers, etc., are accessible to emergency and utility workers is vital. After a storm has passed, residents will also need access to their homes. Planning for such contingencies beforehand saves time, as opposed to waiting until disaster strikes to worry about how residents living on the other side of a washed out bridge can be reached.

For more information about lessons learned from Hurricane Irene, visit: http://islandfreepress.org/PivotBlog/?e=211, http://islandfreepress.org/PivotBlog/index.php?e=167 http://islandfreepress.org/PivotBlog/index.php?e=168
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