According to the National Weather Service, in 2013, there were seven weather and climate disaster events with losses exceeding $1 billion each across the United States. These events included five severe weather and tornado events, a major flood event, and the western drought/heat wave. Overall, these events killed 109 people and had significant economic effects on the areas impacted.
During National Severe Weather Preparedness Week, March 2-8, 2014, NOAA and FEMA will highlight the importance of preparing for severe weather before it strikes.
Being prepared for severe weather doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. A few simple steps, such as having a disaster supplies kit, could help save your life.
The goal of National Severe Weather Preparedness Week is to inform the public about severe weather hazards and provide knowledge which can be used to prepare and take action. These actions can be used to save lives anywhere - at home, in schools, and in the workplace before tornadoes and severe thunderstorms and extreme weather strikes.
Know your risk:
Every state in the United States experiences tornadoes and severe weather - A total of 267 tornadoes occurred across 25 states during May 2013, including the devastating EF5 tornado that struck Moore, Oklahoma, on the 20th causing an estimated $2 billion in property damage. Acting quickly could mean the difference between life and death in these situations. Follow weather.gov to get the latest forecasts.
During National Severe Weather Preparedness Week, join National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and do your part to prepare now. Being prepared is a collective effort. It takes the whole community to effectively prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate against damages caused by tornadoes and severe thunderstorms.
● Before storms strike, Be a Force of Nature and take the first step to making sure that you and your family are prepared for severe weather. These include developing a family communications plan, putting an emergency kit together, keeping important papers and valuables in a safe place, and getting involved to make your community safe.
● Sign up for America’s PrepareAthon April 30, take action and share the word to encourage others to participate. www.ready.gov/prepare
Be an example:
● Building a Weather-Ready Nation requires the action of all of us. Each and every person across the country has the potential to Be a Force of Nature when it comes to weather-readiness. Studies show that individuals need to receive messages a number of ways before taking appropriate action.
● Many are more likely to act when the messages are received from a trusted source- family, friends, or a community leader.
● And, history teaches that a lack of awareness and preparation are common threads among all major weather threats. Knowing your vulnerability and what actions you should take could save your life and others.
● During this preparedness week we ask you to Be a Force of Nature – Know your risk, take action and be an example, by sharing what you have done, with your friends, family, coworkers, and others.
● Once you have taken action, share your story with your family and friends by creating a video and posting it to YouTube or another video sharing site or post your story on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter or any other social media site you’re on.
Need ideas for what you can do?
● Ensure you and your family knows your surroundings and risk for specific weather events.
● Have an emergency plan, and know what to do before severe weather strikes. Post your plan in your home where family and friends who visit can see it. Identify an appropriate shelter in your home, neighborhood and community ahead of time. Share this with your neighbor.
● Learn how to strengthen your home and business against severe weather. Pass this on at a community gathering or faith-based meeting.
● Find out from local government emergency management how you will be notified for each kind of disaster and sign up for additional alerts through social media and local news. Understand these local warning systems and signals and share your knowledge with your coworkers and friends. Email these resources to your friends, post to your social media account.
● Remember, once you have taken action; share your story with your family and friends.
● Text your love ones and let them know you are safe and where you are.
To help get more people involved in emergency preparedness, KDEM has instituted an online "Kansas Preparedness Challenge." Completing each monthly challenge makes participants eligible for a prize drawing. Go to www.ksready.gov and click on the "Kansas Preparedness Challenge" link to get started.