Severe weather can occur anytime, day or night, and residents should be prepared to take action imme
As communities are banding together to assist those devastatingly impacted by recent tornados, local governments throughout the country are looking at their shelter, emergency, and evacuation plans and wondering if their citizens are ready for the upcoming tornado and hurricane seasons.
To better prepare your community, share these recently released Severe Weather & Tornado Safety Tips from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) with your citizens:
- Maintain an emergency supply kit both at home and in the car to help prepare for power outages or impassable roads. Visit www.ready.gov to learn more about how to be better prepared and how to protect your family during emergencies. Find severe weather and tornado preparedness tips at http://www.ready.gov/severe-weather.
- Follow the instructions of state and local officials, and listen to local radio or TV stations for updated disaster response and evacuation information. Residents can listen to NOAA Weather Radio and local news to monitor for severe weather updates and warnings. The National Weather Service is the source for tornado watches and warnings. For a complete listing of weather-related forecasts in your area, visit www.weather.gov.
- Become familiar with the terms used to identify severe weather and discuss with your family what to do if a watch or warning is issued. Common terms used to describe tornado and other severe weather hazards are included below:
For a flash flood:
- A flash flood watch means flash flooding is possible. Be prepared to move to higher ground; monitor NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio, or television for information.
- A flash flood warning means a flash flood is occurring; seek higher ground on foot immediately.
For a severe thunderstorm:
- A severe thunderstorm watch means that a severe thunderstorm with large hail and/or damaging winds is possible in your area.
- A severe thunderstorm warning means that a severe thunderstorm with large hail and/or damaging winds is occurring or imminent; move indoors immediately.
For a tornado:
- A tornado watch means a tornado is possible in your area.
- A tornado warning means a tornado is either occurring or imminent; take shelter immediately.
Encourage your residents to prepare for what to do during a tornado and plan where to go if a tornado watch is issued in your community:
- Storm cellars or basements provide the best protection.
- If underground shelter is not available, go to an interior room or hallway on the lowest floor of a sturdy building.
- Put as many walls as possible between you and the outside. Most injuries associated with high winds are from flying debris, so remember to protect your head.
- Vehicles, trailers, and mobile homes are not good locations to ride out a tornado. If possible, plan to go quickly to a building with a strong foundation.
- If shelter is not available, lie flat in a ditch or other low-lying area. Do not go under an overpass or bridge. You are safer in a low, flat location.
- Plan to stay in the shelter location until the danger has passed.
Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEAs) can now be sent directly to cell phones on participating wireless carriers' networks. WEAs sent by public safety officials, such as the National Weather Service, are designed to get users' attention and to provide brief, critical instructions to warn about imminent threats, like severe weather. More information is available on WEA at www.ready.gov/alerts.
The American Red Cross Tornado Warning and Alert app has an automatic audible siren that goes off when the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration issues a tornado warning, provides notification when a warning expires, and allows users to let other know they are safe. For more information, visit www.redcross.org.
Severe weather can occur anytime, day or night, and residents should be prepared to take action immediately.