As the potential for severe weather across the plains and several Midwestern states develops later today and through the early morning hours of Sunday, staff at the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) Region VII office continue to take steps to coordinate with state and local officials in Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska, as they prepare for the potential storms.
FEMA also encourages residents to quickly complete their preparations for severe weather.
"We urge residents to listen to NOAA Weather Radio and their local news to monitor for updates and follow the directions provided by their local officials," said FEMA Region VII Administrator Beth Freeman. "We have been in contact with the National Weather Service and our emergency management partners at the local, state, and federal levels as well as representatives of the private sector and voluntary agencies throughout the region to ensure proper measures are in place to protect life and property in the event severe weather occurs."
When severe weather hits, the first responders are local emergency and public works personnel, volunteers, humanitarian organizations, and numerous private interest groups. This collection of agencies helps provide emergency assistance required to protect the public's health and safety to meet immediate needs. During this time, FEMA continues to coordinate closely with state and local partners to monitor what needs may arise as a result of the storms.
Preparing for Severe Weather Now
· This severe weather threat should serve as a reminder to everyone to have a plan ready as we can't always anticipate when or where a disaster might strike.
· FEMA urges families to have a plan for what you and your family will do if there is a disaster, and prepare an emergency supply kit both at home and in the car to help prepare for power outages or impassable roads. For more information on creating your family's emergency, please visit www.ready.gov.
Responding to Severe Weather
If you have severe weather in your area, keep in mind these safety tips:
· Everyone should get familiar with the terms used to identify a severe weather hazard and discuss with your family what to do if a watch or warning is issued. Terms used to describe weather hazards include the following:
o Watch: Meteorologists are monitoring an area or region for the formation of a specific type of threat (e.g. flooding, severe thunderstorms, or tornados).
o Tune in using a weather radio, commercial radio, or television for information. During crises, the NOAA Weather Radio system is used to broadcast timely and important information from the National Weather Service (the only authority on weather forecasting) and emergency personnel offering local situational updates. Learn more from the National Weather Service (www.weather.gov/nwr).
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o Warning: Specific life and property threatening conditions are occurring and imminent. Take appropriate safety precautions.
· Injury may occur when people walk among disaster debris and enter damaged buildings. Wear sturdy shoes or boots, long sleeves and gloves when handling or walking on or near debris.
· Mobile homes, even if tied down, offer little protection from tornadoes and should be abandoned. A mobile home can overturn very easily even if precautions have been taken to tie down the unit. Residents of mobile homes must plan in advance and identify safe shelter in a nearby building.
· If a flood is likely in your area, be aware that flash flooding can occur. If there is any possibility of a flash flood, move immediately to higher ground. Do not wait for instructions to move.
· Do not touch downed power lines or objects in contact with downed lines. Report downed power lines and electrical hazards to the police and the utility company.
· After a disaster, be aware of possible structural, electrical or gas-leak hazards in your home. Contact your local city or county building inspectors for information on structural safety codes and standards. They may also offer suggestions on finding a qualified contractor to do work for you.
After Severe Weather Strikes
· When natural disasters strike, such as tornadoes, the emergency responders and public works personnel, volunteers, humanitarian organizations, and numerous private interest groups in the local areas are the first to provide much needed assistance.
· FEMA is not the team, we're only part of our nation's emergency management team, which also includes state and local officials, non-profits and voluntary groups, the private sector and most importantly - the public.
· If you have not already, take the time to log on to www.ready.gov or www.listo.gov to find out how you can prepare your family for tornados, severe weather storms, flooding and other disasters.
Follow FEMA online at www.twitter.com/fema, www.facebook.com/fema, and www.youtube.com/fema. Also, follow Administrator Craig Fugate's activities at www.twitter.com/craigatfema. The social media links provided are for reference only. FEMA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies or applications.
FEMA's mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.