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2016 Hurricane season kicks off

(Courtesy graphic/National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)

(Courtesy graphic/National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)

DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del. -- The 2016 hurricane season officially began June 1, 2016, kicking off six months of the threat of tropical weather affecting the Dover AFB area. 

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is predicting a near-normal hurricane season for 2016. NOAA predicts a 70 percent likelihood of 10 to 16 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher), of which four to eight could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including one to four major hurricanes (Category 3, 4 or 5; winds of 111 mph or higher).

Dover AFB is no stranger to hurricanes and experienced Superstorm Sandy in October 2012, and Hurricane Irene in August 2011. These hurricanes caused widespread damage across the region and Hurricane Irene forced the evacuation of more than 200,000 area residents, including Dover AFB personnel and their families.

All personnel should take time to familiarize themselves with hurricane awareness information, emergency actions and how to build emergency kits. Being knowledgeable on these items will be valuable to the safety of you, your unit and your family.

Take time to build a kit that fits your needs. Ensure all sheltered members; know the location of shelter kits, supplies for people who require unique items and a plan for pets. If you have subordinates or co-workers deployed who have family in the local area, help them prepare as well. At a minimum have the following for your emergency kit:
·   Water, one gallon per day per person
· Food, non-perishable three-day supply
· Battery powered radio with batteries
· Flashlight with batteries
· Moist towelettes, garbage bags for personal sanitation
· Manual can opener
· First aid kit
· Small tool kit
· Local maps
· Whistle to signal for help

When building an emergency kit and emergency evacuation action plan, consider the needs of family members who may not be as capable, such as elderly, disabled, children and pets. Be sure to include all necessary medications and the name of the doctor who prescribed the medications in the emergency kit.

It is important for families to be prepared for hurricane season and if you have not already started to prepare for this year's hurricane season, the time to prep is now. There are many useful guides and sources of information to ensure you are ready. Find out if your home is in a flood zone, this could be crucial if there is a storm surge. Some helpful links to prepare for a hurricane are listed below:

If sheltering at home, be sure to accomplish the following:
· Identify how your property location is affected by storm surge and tidal flooding
· Know the hurricane evacuation route
· Secure your outside property, i.e. lawn chairs, lawn ornaments and anything not anchored to the ground
· If you home does not have permanent storm shutters, board windows with 5/8-inch plywood
· Tape does not offer protection
· Ensure you have flood insurance
· Locate a safe room or the safest areas in your home for each hurricane hazard
· Determine escape routes from your home and places to meet

If you decide to seek refuge in a public shelter you must take your emergency kit. While public shelters provide basic necessities, most do not provide cots, bedding, infant items or items for those with special needs. Most shelters only accept service animals. Talk to your vet hospital or kennel in advance to get your pet sheltered.

If you are evacuating, follow these tips:
1. Leave early and avoid traffic delays. If you are evacuating, many others likely are as well.
2. Stay with nearby family who live outside of storm surge areas. Hotels are also available outside of storm surge areas, but must be booked as early as possible. Public shelters should be a last resort.
3. Listen to local weather reports. Stay updated on current and developing conditions.

Dover Air Force Base Key Numbers:
Base Information Line: (302) 677-BASE (2273)
Command Post: (302) 677-4201
436th Airlift Wing Public Affairs: (302) 677-3372
436th Airlift Wing Fire Department: (302) 677-4420
Law Enforcement Desk: (302) 677-6664
Emergency: 911