AFCEC leads AF participation for Hurricane Preparedness Week Published May 28, 2015 By Jessica Echerri Air Force Civil Engineer Center Public Affairs TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. (AFNS) -- Air Force Civil Engineer Center emergency management personnel are leading the Air Force's participation in Hurricane Preparedness Week May 25-29. Hurricane Preparedness Week, hosted by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, is held the week before hurricane season begins to allow time for organizations, families and individuals to focus on their readiness in the event of a tropical storm. Hurricane season runs June 1 to Nov. 30, and signifies the time of year when hurricanes are most likely to approach land. These storm systems are characterized by wind speeds over 74 miles per hour with heavy rain. When a hurricane reaches land, it causes an average of $1.8 billion in damage, said James Martin, the education and training analyst in the emergency management division of the AFCEC Readiness Directorate. "The amount of damage that happens after a hurricane is variable," Martin said. "Depending on the facility structure and the strength of the hurricane, you can be dealing with no damage, while down the street, a home is completely destroyed." To be prepared for any outcome, preparation for a hurricane should begin several weeks or months before hurricane season and include establishing an evacuation plan and preparing an emergency supply kit. Having sufficient insurance coverage is a very important, and often overlooked, thing to check on before hurricane season, he added. "A lot of people think their homeowner's insurance will cover them after hurricane damage, but that's not always the case," Martin said. "Sometimes you need additional insurance, like flood insurance, to cover the cost of damages." FEMA outlines a readiness plan that includes certain actions and procedures people should take before, during and after a hurricane. Prior to hurricane conditions, FEMA recommends bringing in outdoor items that could blow away or cause damage, boarding up windows, storing food and drinking water, and photographing the interior and exterior of homes for insurance purposes. When a hurricane is likely, those in the area should close storm shutters and evacuate if instructed to do. Following the storm, individuals should stay alert for damage such as loose power lines and gas leaks, and avoid using tap water until it is declared safe by authorities. For more information on Hurricane Preparedness Week and disaster readiness, visit your installation's emergency management office or go to the Air Force "Be Ready" website at www.beready.af.mil.