Be a Force of Nature: Take the Next Step during National Severe Weather Preparedness Week

In July of 2013, the Red Cross responded to flooding in Barberton, OH.

In July of 2013, the Red Cross responded to flooding in Barberton, OH.

This year, why not take the time to learn how to prepare for severe weather during National Severe Weather Preparedness Week, March 2-8, 2014, sponsored by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Being prepared to act quickly could be a matter of survival. This is especially evident during the threat of severe weather. The deadliest and most destructive tornado of 2013, an EF-5 on May 20 in Moore, Oklahoma and caused more than $2 billion in property damage. Even though severe weather was anticipated days in advance, many in the impacted areas said they did not have a plan and were caught unprepared.

While spring tends to produce more tornadoes, they’re not uncommon in fall. On Nov. 17, a late season tornado outbreak that struck seven Midwestern states became the most active tornado day of 2013 with a total of 74 tornadoes.

Being prepared to act quickly could be a matter of survival. This is especially evident during the threat of severe weather. The Moore Oklahoma ESF 5 tornado is estimated to have caused about $2 billion in property damage. In November 2013 alone, at least 70 tornadoes spanned seven Midwestern states.

Severe weather could happen at any time, anywhere. Even though the Oklahoma tornado outbreak was forecasted for days in advance, and warning lead times for the tornado outbreak averaged nearly 20 minutes, there were still many people in the impacted areas that stated they were unprepared.

Here is what we can do to prepare:

Knowing your risk, taking action and being an example by sharing your knowledge and actions with your social network are just a few steps you can take to be better prepared and save your life and others.

Know Your Risk: Hurricanes, tornadoes, storms – every state in the United States experiences severe weather. Download our Hurricane or Tornado app to receive real time alerts for your location. Also, visit weather.gov to get the latest on weather threats.

Take Action: Take the next step in severe weather preparedness by creating a family communications plan, putting an emergency kit together, keeping important papers and valuables in a safe place, and learning about Wireless Emergency Alerts. Download the Red Cross First Aid app or natural disaster related apps (like the Tornado app) to learn more about preparing for and responding during a storm. To learn more about taking action, participate in a local event on April 30 through America’s PrepareAthon.

Be an Example: Once you have taken action to prepare for severe weather, share your story with family and friends on Facebook or Twitter. Your preparedness story will inspire others to do the same.

Learn more at www.redcross.org, www.weather.gov and www.ready.gov/severe-weather or the Spanish-language web site http://www.listo.gov. We also regularly post weather related stories to our chapter Facebook pages and through @neoredcross on Twitter. Follow the National Weather Service @nws and FEMA @readygov

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