26 Jul Preparing the public for hurricanes
Hurricane season is well underway for East Coasters. With the season not ending until November, the EPA is calling on the public to prepare now for natural disasters to aid recovery efforts.
One point always challenging during a natural disaster is debris and household hazardous waste management, which ultimately has a great impact on public safety. Based on the responses to Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Maria, and Florence, EPA responders were in the field during the aftermath and managed a tremendous amount of waste as part of the recovery efforts.
Residents can do so much to help in these efforts. They can protect their communities, the environment and the responding personnel by ensuring items such as propane tanks and paint cans are secured prior to a hurricane.
Unlike some natural disasters, the onset of a hurricane is predictable and allows for early preparations to lessen its effect on a facility. Before hurricane-force winds and associated storm surge flooding damage industrial processes, operators can take preventive action by safely shutting down processes, place hazardous chemicals in safe storage locations, or otherwise operate safely under appropriate emergency procedures. If a chemical release does occur, operators should notify appropriate authorities immediately so that a proper response can be carried out.
The EPA and the Federal Emergency Management Agency recently announced a Memorandum of Understanding that streamlines coordination between FEMA and the EPA-funded State Revolving Fund programs so that funding to restore vital water infrastructure can be provided as quickly as possible in times of disaster.
As part of its mission, the EPA is responsible for responding to natural disasters; chemical, biological, and radiological releases; oil spills; and nationally significant emergencies.
For more information on hurricanes, visit https://www.epa.gov/natural-disasters/hurricanes.