March 7, 2014
National Severe Weather Preparedness 2014
This week is National Severe Weather Preparedness Week at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), a part of the National Weather Service (NWS). This joint effort of NOAA and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) focuses on raising awareness and saving lives. Each day of the week has a specific focus for spreading information about severe weather preparedness. Even though several days have passed, the information is still relevant and important to spread. After all, for many, spring brings severe weather in the form of thunderstorms including hailstorms, high winds, and tornadoes. Spring is not the only severe weather season. In late summer and fall, many concern themselves with hurricanes, and winter brings biting cold, snow storms, and ice storms. Summer produces intense heat while tsunamis and extreme weather changes can happen any season.
According to the NOAA website, Sunday was the introductory day. On Sunday, the website promoted its theme of “Be a Force of Nature.” As the webpage says, “As part of NOAA’s campaign to build a Weather-Ready Nation, this week is about what you can do to take a stand against severe weather. It means taking appropriate actions before, during and after extreme weather by knowing your risk, having a plan, building an emergency preparedness kit and staying informed. It also means being connected to family, friends and neighbors and sharing your preparedness story. In the age of mobile technology and social media, this part has never been easier.”
So the entire point of “Be a Force of Nature” is to do the following three:
- Know the Risks
- Take action
- Be an example
Sunday was the day to first promote these ideas.
Monday moved into breaking down the three points starting with knowing the risk. If you live somewhere that has severe weather, then you must also understand that weather and know the risks associated with it. For instance, I live in Oklahoma. Every spring tornadoes devastate much of my home state, and every spring I know the risk of tornadoes because I must. I also make sure to check the weather for any potential risks of severe weather. Knowing the risks that severe brings and the risk of severe weather in the near future has saved my life and will save my life in the future. So can it save others’ lives as long as they know their risks.
Tuesday discussed the importance of building a severe weather kit. Last spring, redOrbit published one of my articles about just this. This blog article listed several items needed or suggested for a kit, which I called a tornado go bag. NOAA also identified important items including “enough food, water and other supplies to last for at least 72 hours.” A severe weather kit or go bag is necessary to ensure preparedness and protection should any sort of severe weather hit. Again, knowing the risks of severe weather and what you might need if and when it hits will help with building a kit.
Wednesday is all about making a plan. Knowing the risks and building a kit only work insofar as having a plan and acting upon that plan. Without a plan for what you and your family will do, having the former mean nothing. NOAA and FEMA suggest developing a Family Emergency Plan wherein all family members know what to do, when, and how if severe weather strikes. “While there are basic elements that should be a part of any plan, it’s important to also tailor your plan to the individual needs of you or your family. This is especially important for the elderly or those with disabilities or special medial or dietary needs.”
Thursday promotes the importance of staying alert to severe weather. There are many options for just this: NOAA Weather Radio, local news stations, weather apps, and the weather webpages. Additionally, social media can play a role in staying alert to the severe weather forthcoming.
Friday wants people to be the examples for severe weather preparedness to their friends, family, and neighbors. The best way to do so is to communicate with others the plans and actions we set forth within our own homes in order to be safe and live in the severest of weather conditions. As the website states, others are more likely to take action if they see family members or friends prepare for a storm.
National Severe Weather Preparedness Week ends with Saturday’s wrap-up just reminding us all to “Be a Force of Nature” by being prepared, which includes knowing the risks, taking action, and being an example.
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