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March 2, 2013

Severe Weather Preparedness Week starts Sunday

Sunday marks the start of National Severe Weather Preparedness Week, which runs through March 9. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are joining together to help save lives from severe weather by delivering the following important message to the public: “Be a force of nature by knowing your risk and taking proactive emergency preparedness measures as well as inspiring others to do the same,” according to a FEMA press release.

“Severe weather is unpredictable, but you can prepare for it,” said Andrew Velasquez III, FEMA regional administrator, in the news release. “Start by knowing your risk. Then, take action by making your emergency plans and once you are prepared, encourage friends and neighbors to be prepared too.”

NOAA and FEMA encourage people to prepare for extreme weather by following these guidelines:

• Know your risk: The first step to becoming weather-ready is to understand the type of hazardous weather that can affect the area where you live and work, and how the weather could impact you and your family. Check the weather forecast regularly and sign up for alerts from your local emergency management officials. Severe weather comes in many forms, and your shelter planning should include all types of local hazards.

• Take action: Develop an emergency plan based on your local weather hazards and practice how and where to take shelter before a severe weather event. Create or refresh an emergency kit with food, supplies and medication that will be needed by you and your family after a disaster. Post your plan in your home where family and visitors can see it. Learn community evacuation routes. Obtain a NOAA Weather Radio. Download FEMA’s mobile app so you can access important safety tips on what to do before and during severe weather. Understand the weather warning system and become a certified storm spotter through the National Weather Service.

• Be an example: Once you have taken action, tell your family, friends, school staff and co-workers about how they can prepare. Share the resources and alert systems you discovered with your social media network. Studies show that individuals need to receive messages a number of ways before acting - be one of those sources. When you seek shelter after a warning, text, tweet or update your status so your friends and family will know you are safe. You might just save their lives by encouraging others to seek safety too. For more information on how you can prepare for severe weather, visit www.ready.gov/severe-weather.

“By taking these easy steps, you will be prepared for any type of disaster,” said Velasquez.

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FOLLOW FEMA

• Follow FEMA online at twitter.com/femaregion5, www.facebook.com/fema, and www.youtube.com/fema

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