Time to get, stay prepared

Published 5:26 am Monday, August 25, 2008

By Staff
In just the past month, we have seen tropical depressions and hurricanes form in the Gulf, and as I'm writing this column, Tropical Storm Fay was making a hard left turn off the east coast of Florida and tracking slowly towards southwest Alabama.
The major concern with Tropical Storm Fay appears to be flooding due to heavy rainfall. Some areas in Florida were deluged by as much as two feet of rain. At this time, it does not appear that this storm will develop into a serious threat for Alabama.
Right now, we are in the midst of hurricane season, which officially ends November 30. Tropical Storm Fay should serve as a reminder for us to continue to be prepared in the event a hurricane strikes south Alabama.
While we are so fortunate to call south Alabama and the Alabama Gulf Coast home, we know too well how critical hurricane preparedness can be. Each of the First District's six counties is at risk of being affected by a hurricane or tropical storm.
The effects of a hurricane can be reduced if you and your family plan ahead and know the steps you should take before, during, and after any natural disaster. Remember, you can never be too prepared.
I once again encourage you to prepare a disaster supply kit, containing items such as water (at least 1 gallon daily per person), food (including non-perishable and canned items), a can opener, paper plates and utensils, blankets and pillows, clothing, first aid with medicines and prescription drugs, toiletries, a flashlight with batteries, battery operated radio, fully charged cell phone with an extra battery, cash, keys, important documents in a waterproof container or waterproof plastic bag, and insurance documents.
For more information regarding hurricane preparedness, you can visit the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) website, www.nhc.noaa.gov/HAW2.
It is also important that you plan ahead in the event you are advised to evacuate. Know how you will leave and where you will go. You should become familiar with alternate routes and other means of transportation to get you to where you are heading.
Please remember my office and I stand ready to assist you. You can reach us toll free at 1-800-288-8721, and we'll be glad to do all we can to be helpful.
My staff and I work for you. If we can ever be of service, do not hesitate to call my office toll free at 1-800-288-8721 or visit my website at bonner.house.gov .
Jo Bonner is a member of the house of representatives.