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Families Should Create a Hurricane Survival Plan, PADF Says

Monday, May 31, 2010 Environmental Health J E 4
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'Active' hurricane season is predicted for Caribbean, Central America

WASHINGTON, May 31 /PRNewswire/ -- On the eve of what is predicted to be one of the worst Atlantic hurricane seasons in years, the Pan American Development Foundation is urging residents in Central America and the Caribbean to put together emergency plans.

(Logo:  http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20100211/DC53912LOGO )

"Families need to put together a plan now," says John Sanbrailo, PADF's executive director. "A few simple steps will make a difference, possibly even save lives, when the wind, rain and flooding hits a community."

Forecasters anticipate up to 23 named storms this season, with as many as 14 hurricanes, in the Atlantic. Of that, the region could see up to seven major hurricanes, which have winds of at least 111 miles per hour, according to the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

PADF has responded to hurricanes, earthquakes and floods, as well provided humanitarian assistance, in Latin America and the Caribbean for nearly 50 years. It works with authorities, companies and community groups to reduce the risks of natural disasters. (www.PanAmericanRelief.org)

Since a family may have to evacuate their home for an extended period of time, an emergency plan should contain the following:

  • Put all important legal documents (property documents, passports, birth certificates, etc.) into a water-tight container
  • Store in a sealed container a 30-day supply of prescription medications
  • Create a disaster supply kit, which includes non-perishable food, a flashlight with fresh batteries, matches, a first aid kit and a portable radio
  • Coordinate with your family members an escape route and a final safe place to meet, such as a shelter
  • Create a plan for the safety of pets and livestock (and be sure they have identification tags)
  • Ask your local authorities for their natural disaster plan, including evacuation routes, and which areas of the your community have the greatest risk for flooding and landslides
  • Clean all drainage canals of debris and trim tree branches that may strike your home or utilities

"While our region is no stranger to the damages caused by the wind, rain and flooding of a hurricane, we are surprised how few people plan for a disaster," says Sanbrailo. "Many times, the tools they need to make a plan are in their homes and community. Please seek them out."

When a natural disaster strikes in Latin America or the Caribbean, PADF accepts donations from individuals and companies to help relieve the suffering of the survivors. Donors are encouraged to call toll-free (877) 572-4484 or to visit www.PanAmericanRelief.org.

About PADF

PADF is a non-profit, nongovernmental organization established in 1962 to promote, facilitate, and implement social and economic development in Latin America and the Caribbean. In the past year, it had more than 5.6 million beneficiaries in 18 countries. PADF is also the natural disaster relief arm of the Organization of American States (OAS).  (www.PanAmericanRelief.org)

Its headquarters is in Washington, D.C., and has field offices in Haiti, Colombia, the Dominican Republic and elsewhere. www.padf.org

SOURCE Pan American Development Foundation

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