UNION COUNTY, NJ – County officials are advising that residents to create a communications plan in advance of Tropical Storm Hermine, expected this weekend.

 “This weekend we expect to see the after-effects of Tropical Storm Hermine, and it’s a timely reminder that our area has experienced some devastating storms in the past several years,” said Freeholder Chairman Bruce H. Bergen. “It’s never too early to plan ahead, so you can stay informed and in touch in case of an emergency.”

Bergen recommended getting started by using the easy-to-follow forms available for free download at the federal emergency planning website ready.gov.

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“The free forms make it easy to keep track of the information you gather, and to ensure that you have covered all the bases,” said Bergen. “That includes making sure that you are signed up for emergency alerts and warnings.”

Union County residents automatically receive emergency alerts through land phones. Residents who use cell phones and tablets can also receive alerts by text message or email by signing up for UC First Alert.

September 4 marks the beginning of “Preparing Family and Friends,” the second week of National Preparedness Month, designed to encourage residents to prepare for a natural disaster or other emergency. Each week has a different theme with steps to follow.

“Preparing Family and Friends” week describes how to set up a communication plan before a natural disaster or other emergency hits. Families should discuss a plan about how the they will get emergency alerts and warnings, how to get in contact with each other should phone towers and the Internet go down, and where to meet before and after the emergency.

Families can also establish a safe place to go to if their home is not accessible. Meeting at a neighbor’s house, a family friend’s home, or a library are a few options that can be discussed.

Pets should be taken into consideration when discussing a meeting location because not all places may accept them. Everyone in the household should have a copy of the same information to prevent any confusion.

For more information about National Preparedness Month and the Ready campaign, visit ready.gov/september.

For all Union County programs and services visit ucnj.org, call the Public Info Line, 877-424-1234, email info@ucnj.org or use the online Contact Form.