storm preparedness

Emergency Preparedness for Families in Coastal Communities in Southeastern Connecticut

Karen-Mary Ellen
Karen Filchak and Mary Ellen Welch shared family and home emergency preparedness information at the Community Safety, Health and Wellness Day held for Stonington residents in May. Photo: Faye Griffiths-Smith

UConn Extension has received a two-year grant from USDA-NIFA to work with residents in four Southeastern Connecticut coastal communities promoting storm (coastal or heavy precipitation event) preparedness. The coastal communities of Connecticut and Rhode Island are impacted by flooding, storm surge, and wind causing property damage during major storm events such as nor’easters and hurricanes. The Universities of Connecticut and Rhode Island are collaborating to provide preparedness education and planning support for select communities including town officials, commissions and residents. The multistate team will target densely populated coastal towns and will conduct assessments of vulnerability, determine risks, and identify how the risks can be mitigated through preparatory actions. One of the primary goals is to educate citizens, towns, and businesses to make sound decisions in advance of storms.

Extension will engage a variety of community partners and citizens to participate in workshops to learn how to

Preparing emergency go-kits for family members and pets as well as organizing financial and household records were a few of the topics addressed by Karen Filchak and Faye Griffiths-Smith. Photo: Mary Ellen Welch

assess and protect vulnerable properties, including residential, common community, business and agricultural properties. Extension and Sea Grant Educators will offer workshops on community preparedness, family preparedness, assembling a family emergency kit and go pack, family financial emergency records preparation, and household preparation. Another goal is to introduce Extension Disaster Education Network (EDEN) materials to these populations to make them familiar with these online resources and those available through land grant universities and agencies such as NIFA/HUD, FEMA and Red Cross. We will identify and market existing on-line resources and apps to deal with property impacts before and after storms in the selected communities. Stonington has been identified as the 2016 pilot community for the project. 

For more information, contact Mary Ellen Welch, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator and Principal Investigator on the grant at