Recognizing the importance of having access to safe, clean drinking water, especially in times of disasters and emergencies, the International Bottled Water Association (IBWA) is joining the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in promoting the 2012 National Hurricane Preparedness Week, which calls upon Americans in areas of the country vulnerable to hurricanes and severe weather to “Be a Force of Nature.”
National Hurricane Preparedness Week runs from May 27 through June 2, 2012, and history teaches that awareness and preparation can reduce the impact of a disaster. Families, individuals, and businesses who know their vulnerability and what actions to take in advance can lessen the effects of a hurricane.
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.
IBWA is proud to join and promote the 2012 National Hurricane Preparedness Weekand to Be a Force of Nature to help spread the word and make its member company’s communities better prepared. The bottled water industry has always been at the forefront of relief efforts during natural disasters and other catastrophic events.
Throughout the years, bottled water companies have immediately responded to the need for clean water after natural disasters, such as 2011's devastating storms in the Southeast and Midwest and record flooding in the Northeast; Hurricanes Andrew, Charlie, and Katrina; earthquakes; wildfires in the West; or the terrorist attacks on the Pentagon and World Trade Center in 2001.
Recent studies show that many people use social media in the event of a disaster to let relatives and friends know they are safe, IBWA notes. This is an important trend because people are most likely to take preparedness steps if they observe the actions taken by others. Social media provides the perfect platform to disseminate information on preparedness.
IBW notes the following steps consumers can take to become a Force of Nature:
- Know your risk: The first step to Be a Force of Nature 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. Download FEMA’s mobile app so you can 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 (DHS) 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. Post the Be a Force of Nature widget on your social media profiles.
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 web site www.listo.gov