Irene is the first hurricane to make landfall in the continental United States since 2008, and came almost six years to the day after Katrina ravaged New Orleans on August 29, 2005. Experts said that probably no other hurricane in American history had threatened as many people.

Although Irene has weakened and the damage, to date, isn’t as bad as first thought, there are “lessons” to be learned similar to Katrina. Over the past five years, they have been reported via our Emergency Preparedness blogs on the Petaluma360 site. (They may be revived in the column to the right.) The main questions to be asked are:

1- Are you and your family prepared to be on your own for days and/or weeks?
2- Are you prepared to live with the loss of electric power and/or natural gas?
3- Do you have a supply of the basic survival items: food, water, medical, etc. that are
recommended by FEMA and the American Red Cross?
4- Do you have the means to communicate when all normal means (landline and cell
phones, radio, TV, and the Internet fail to operate?

Yes, I know … you’ve heard all this before; but, the key question is, “What have you done about it?” Starting next week, in support of FEMA’s annual “National Preparedness Month” campaign, additional blogs will be posted periodically in order to remind you of what you need to do to “Be Ready” and to “Be Prepared” to survive a major disaster. Please stay tuned and share this information with your friends and neighbors. As the mayor of New York City has been preaching, “It’s better to be safe, than sorry.”

Check out … http://www.ready.gov/america/index.html