Red Cross & Unitil Team Up to Prepare New England for Hurricanes

Red Cross, Unitil Team Up to Prepare New England for Hurricanes
Preparing for hurricanes and other potential inclement weather and their outcomes is critical for moving beyond a disaster

This week is National Hurricane Preparedness Week and Unitil, a provider of natural gas and electricity to customers in New England, is teaming up with the American Red Cross (ARC) to help residents prepare for the 2013 hurricane season.

The 2013 Atlantic hurricane season begins June 1 and will last until the end of November. Featuring strong winds and heavy rains, hurricanes can cause severe flooding and major power outages, resulting in widespread and costly damages. Coastal communities can be especially vulnerable to the threat of storm surges generated by these tropical weather events.

“Preparing for hurricanes and other potential inclement weather and their outcomes is critical for moving beyond a disaster,” said Maria White, chief executive officer, N.H. region. “Whether it’s offering emotional support to someone struggling with a traumatic experience, offering much needed financial support for immediate emergency sheltering, food or clothing, the American Red Cross will be there helping the New Hampshire community prepare, prevent and respond to emergencies.”

Should a hurricane strike this season, ARC and Unitil will be ready to support local communities in their recovery efforts. Together, ARC and Unitil urge New Englanders to be prepared and have a hurricane safety plan in place should a hurricane impact the region this year.

Be sure to stock up on:

  • Water—at least a three-day supply; one gallon per person, per day
  • Food—at least a three-day supply of non-perishable, easy-to-prepare food
  • Flashlight
  • Battery-powered or hand-crank radio
  • Extra batteries
  • First aid kit, Medications (seven-day supply) and medical items (hearing aids with extra batteries, glasses, contact lenses, syringes, cane)
  • Cell phone with charger
  • If a hurricane or tropical storm is forecasted for the region:

  • Listen to a NOAA Weather Radio for critical information from the National Weather Service (NWS) and watch for updates from Unitil or your local utility
  • Check your disaster supplies and replace or restock as needed
  • Bring in anything that can be picked up by the wind (bicycles, lawn furniture, etc.)
  • Close windows, doors and hurricane shutters—if you do not have hurricane shutters, close and board up all windows and doors with plywood
  • Turn the refrigerator and freezer to the coldest setting and keep them closed as much as possible so that food will last longer if the power goes out
  • Evacuate if advised by authorities—be careful to avoid flooded roads and washed-out bridges
  • American Red Cross also has a free hurricane mobile app, Hurricane by American Red Cross, which is free to download on iPhone or Android phones. Monitor conditions in your area or throughout the storm track, prepare your family and home, find help and let others know you are safe even if the power is out. You can download the app directly from the iTunes or Google Play app stores.

    “At Unitil, we live and work in the communities we serve, and the safety of our customers and employees is our top priority,” said Carol Valianti, Unitil VP of communications and public affairs. “We work all year to ensure we are prepared for hurricane season and we encourage our customers to take the necessary steps so they can be ‘Red Cross Ready’ as well.”

    Additional recommended items and preparation actions are available at redcross.org. For more information on the Unitil and ARC partnership, please visit the Unitil site.

    About the American Red Cross:

    The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org/nh or visit us on Twitter at @NHRedCross.

    About Unitil Corporation:

    Unitil Corporation provides energy for life by safely and reliably delivering natural gas and electricity in New England. We are committed to the communities we serve and to developing people, business practices and technologies that lead to dependable, more efficient energy. Unitil Corporation is a public utility holding company with operations in Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts. Together, Unitil’s operating utilities serve approximately 101,700 electric customers and 73,700 natural gas customers. Other subsidiaries include Usource, Unitil’s non-regulated business segment. For more information about our people, technologies and community involvement please visit www.unitil.com.