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Emergency Weather Preparedness

As Americans we live in the most severe weather-prone country in the world. Each year, Americans cope with an average of 10,000 thunderstorms, 5,000 floods, 1,000 tornadoes, and an average of 2 land falling deadly hurricanes. And this on top of winter storms, intense summer heat, high winds, wild fires and other deadly weather impacts. Some 90% of all presidentially declared disasters are weather related, leading to around 500 deaths per year and nearly $14 billion in damage, according to the National Weather Service. No community is storm proof, but being properly prepared can help keep your family safe, reduce their risk of injury, and can save lives.

Source: NOAA National Weather Service - StormReady

Be Prepared!
Emergency Weather Preparedness
Because predicting the weather is not an exact science, and the fact that severe weather can occur at almost any time, it is essential to prepare for its potential.

The National Weather Service (NWS) suggests these important steps to prepare for severe weather.
  • Post emergency telephone numbers by phones and in cell phones.
  • Install safety features in your house, such as smoke alarms and fire extinguishers.
  • Inspect your home for potential hazards (such as items that can move, fall, break, or catch fire) and correct them.
  • Have your family learn basic safety measures, such as CPR and first aid; how to use a fire extinguisher; and how and when to turn off water, gas, and electricity in your home.
  • Teach children how and when to call 911 or your local emergency medical services number.
  • Keep enough supplies in your home to meet your needs for at least 3 days. Assemble an emergency supply and first aid kit with items you may need if evacuated. Store these supplies in sturdy, easy to carry containers, such as backpacks or duffle bags.
  • Keep important family documents in a waterproof container. Keep a smaller emergency supply and first aid kit in your vehicle.
Source: NOAA National Weather Service - Nature's Most Violent Storms

What to Take With You
According to the American Red Cross, at a minimum, have the basic supplies listed below. Keep supplies in an easy-to-carry emergency preparedness kit that you can use at home or take with you in case you must evacuate.
  • Water - One gallon per person, per day (3-day supply for evacuation, 2-week supply for home)
  • Food - Non-perishable, easy- to- prepare items (3-day supply for evacuation, 2-week supply for home)
  • Flashlight
  • A battery-powered or hand-crank radio (NOAA Weather Radio, if possible)
  • Extra batteries
  • First aid kit
  • Medications (7-day supply) and medical items
  • Multi-purpose tool
  • Sanitation and personal hygiene items
  • Copies of personal documents (medication list and pertinent medical information, proof of address, deed/lease to home, passports, birth certificates, insurance policies)
  • Cell phone with chargers
  • Family and emergency contact information
  • Extra cash
  • Emergency blanket
  • Map(s) of the area
Consider the needs of all family members and add supplies to your kit. Suggested items to help meet additional needs are:
  • Medical supplies (hearing aids with extra batteries, glasses, contact lenses, syringes, cane)
  • Baby supplies (bottles, formula, baby food, diapers)
  • Games and activities for children
  • Pet supplies (collar, leash, ID, food, carrier, bowl)
  • Two-way radios
  • Extra set of car keys and house keys
  • Manual can opener
Additional supplies to keep at home or in your kit based on the types of disasters common to your area:
  • Whistle
  • N95 or surgical masks
  • Matches
  • Rain gear
  • Towels
  • Work gloves
  • Tools/supplies for securing your home
  • Extra clothing, hat and sturdy shoes
  • Plastic sheeting
  • Duct tape
  • Scissors
  • Household liquid bleach
  • Entertainment items
  • Blankets or sleeping bags
Source: American Red Cross - Get A Kit

Where to Find Severe Storm & Emergency Weather Information
In the event of a severe storm or weather-related emergency, follow the advice of state and local officials. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recommends the following sources for the most up-to-date information and alerts for severe storms and emergency weather information.

Talk to your local emergency management agency.
There are actions that should be taken before, during and after an event that are unique to each hazard. Identify the hazards that have happened, or could happen, in your area and plan for the unique actions for each. Local emergency management offices can help identify the hazards in your area and outline the local plans and recommendations for each. You can also find out from your local government emergency management office how you will be notified for disasters.

Check on alert and warning systems for workplace, schools, and other locations.
The methods of getting your attention vary from community to community. One common method is to broadcast via emergency radio and TV broadcasts. You might hear a special siren, or get a telephone call, or in rare circumstances, volunteers and emergency workers may go door to door.

Listen to NOAA weather radio and local news to monitor for severe weather updates and warnings.
Known as the "Voice of the National Weather Service," NOAA Weather Radio (NWR) is provided as a public service by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. NWR requires a special weather radio, or scanner capable of picking up the signal. Broadcasts are found in the VHF public service band at these seven frequencies (MHz):
  • 162.400 MHz
  • 162.425 MHz
  • 162.450 MHz
  • 162.475 MHz
  • 162.500 MHz
  • 162.525 MHz
  • 162.550 MHz
NWR is an "All Hazards" radio network, making it your single source for comprehensive weather and emergency information.
In conjunction with Federal, State, and Local Emergency Managers and other public officials, NWR also broadcasts warning and post-event information for all types of hazards—including natural (such as earthquakes or avalanches), environmental (such as chemical releases or oil spills), and public safety (such as AMBER alerts or 911 Telephone outages).

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Weather Service remains the source for official weather watches and warnings.
You can sign up to receive their email weather alerts at weather.gov.

Sources: FEMA - Best Sources for Weather Alert Information and NOAA National Weather Service - Weather Radio
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