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What first responders should know about Hurricane Irene

About 65 million Americans on the East Coast will be in the path of Hurricane Irene this weekend. In New York City, the mass transit system will be shutdown at noon Saturday before the arrival of the storm. Island communities on the Outer Banks of North Carolina have encouraged vacationers and residents to evacuate before the storm reaches landfall.

As an IAFF first responder, you take care of others during emergencies, but the IAFF wants to make sure that you prepare YOURSELF for what’s to come.

The IAFF has set up a Hurricane Resource web page where you can track Hurricane Irene. Links available with contact information for your state agencies, as well as federal resources such as the Department of Health, environmental resources and news sources.

If you are on Twitter, follow the U.S. Department of Homeland Security @DHS Journal for the latest updates.

However, the most important thing you can do for yourself this weekend is to stay on top of what your local government is planning for your community in case you need to evacuate. In case you do need to leave your home, make sure that all members in your family know the details of your emergency plans.

When a 5.8 earthquake hit the East Coast on Tuesday - never before has electronic devices such as cell phones, texting and social media like Twitter been so important for people to communicate during an emergency.

Make sure that all your electronic devices such as your cell phone, laptop, flashlights, etc. are charged. And make sure you are well stocked with batteries. Wired magazine has some useful tips for all you tech and gadget people about getting electronically prepared for Hurricane Irene.

For all you pet owners please make sure you make plans for them too. Some media have reported that many evacuation shelters won’t accept pets, so you should check with your local animal shelter for suggestions.

Be safe this weekend!

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