The International Bottled Water Association is encouraging consumers to take action during National Hurricane Preparedness Week, which runs from May 26 through June 1. This highlighted week, which coincides with the start of hurricane season, is the ideal time for people to take a moment to re-assess their risks and update hurricane kits and emergency plans. The recent devastating tornadoes in Oklahoma only reinforce the importance of always being prepared for unexpected and dangerous weather.
When tap water is disrupted by anything from a power outage to a pipe breach during a hurricane, bottled water provides a necessary and reliable source of safe drinking water. In addition, the sealed container provides consumers with a promise of quality. The bottled water industry has always been at the forefront of relief efforts during natural disasters and IBWA member companies have immediately responded to the need for clean water after devastating events, such as 2012's Hurricane Sandy.
"History teaches that awareness and preparation can reduce the impact of a disaster, such as a hurricane. Families, individuals and businesses who know their vulnerability and what actions to take in advance can lessen the effects of a hurricane," says Chris Hogan, IBWA vice president of communications. "IBWA understands that consumers must have access to safe, clean drinking water during emergency situations. Smart planning and preparations for one's water needs can make a big difference in the ability to get through and recover from a natural disaster, such as a hurricane."
In recognition of the importance of preparation, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration have partnered again to promote 2013 National Hurricane Preparedness Week, and are calling upon Americans in areas of the country vulnerable to hurricanes and severe weather to "Be a Force of Nature."
Social media provides the perfect platform to disseminate information on preparedness. In fact, many people use social media in the event of a disaster to let relatives and friends know they are safe. This is an important trend because people are most likely to take preparedness steps if they observe the actions taken by others. Here are the steps you can take to prepare for potentially damaging weather:
•Know your risk: The first step is to understand how hurricanes can affect where you live and work, and how the weather could impact you, your family and your coworkers. When you understand your risk, you are better able to prepare. Check the weather forecast regularly and sign up for alerts from emergency management officials and local TV or radio.
•Take action: Pledge to develop an emergency plan based on your local hurricane, severe storms and flooding hazards, and practice how and where you will evacuate if instructed by your emergency management officials. Post your plan in your home or office where everyone can see it. Learn how to strengthen your home and business against hurricanes. One can download FEMA's mobile app to access important safety tips on what to do before, during and after a hurricane. Understand the National Hurricane Center warning and alerts.
Ensure that you have proper supplies ahead of time, including a supply of water. U.S. Department of Homeland Security guidelines encourage all households to maintain an emergency supply of water - at least one gallon per person, per day, for three days, for drinking, cooking and personal hygiene - in the event that public drinking water service is interrupted or if its safety is compromised during an emergency event. Storing bottled water is a safe, convenient way to ensure you have an adequate supply of water on hand.
•Be an example: Once you have taken action and pledged, share your story with your family and friends. Create a YouTube video, post your story on Facebook, comment on a blog, or send a tweet.
More information can be found at www.bottledwater.org or www.ready.gov/hurricanes. Information on the different types of severe weather such as tornadoes, severe thunderstorms and flooding is available at www.weather.gov and www.ready.gov/hurricanes or the Spanish-language website www.listo.gov.