SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) will join with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for the first National Severe Weather Preparedness Week April 22-28. Throughout the week, federal, state and local agencies across the nation will encourage people to know their severe weather risks, take action to be prepared and set an example for others.
“Here in Illinois, we’ve already experienced nature’s fury this year with the deadly tornado in Southern Illinois,” said IEMA Director Jonathon Monken. “We can’t prevent severe weather from happening, but by being better prepared and knowing how to protect ourselves and our loved ones, we can lessen its devastating impact and save lives.”
National Severe Weather Preparedness Week coincides with the one year anniversary of the deadly tornado outbreak in the central and southern states. Just one month later, Joplin, Missouri was devastated by a tornado. In 2011, there were more than 1,000 weather-related fatalities and more than 8,000 injuries.
The FEMA/NOAA nationwide preparedness effort encourages people to:
• Know Your Risk: The first step to becoming weather-ready is to understand the type of hazardous weather that can affect where you live and work, and how the weather could affect you and your family. Check the weather forecast regularly and sign up for localized alerts from emergency management officials. Severe weather comes in many forms and your shelter plan should include all types of local hazards.
• Take Action: Be a ‘Force of Nature’ by taking the pledge to prepare at FEMA’s Ready.gov website. When you pledge to prepare, you will take the first step to making sure you and your family are prepared for severe weather. This includes developing a family communications plan, putting an emergency supply kit together, keeping important papers and valuables in a safe place, and getting involved.
• Be an Example: Once you’ve taken action and pledged, share your story with your family and friends. Create a YouTube video, post your story on Facebook or send a tweet.
IEMA also promotes severe weather preparedness each year during March. This year, IEMA joined with the Illinois Emergency Services Management Association (IESMA) to increase awareness of weather alert radios. The two organizations joined together to sponsor a month-long weather alert radio contest that drew more than 3,500 participants from around the state. Participants had to read information about weather alert radios and successfully complete a five-question quiz before registering for a chance to win one of 100 weather alert radios to be awarded by IESMA. The winners of that contest will be contacted in the near future by their local emergency management agencies.
Information about severe weather preparedness is available on Illinois’ Ready Illinois website at www.Ready.Illinois.gov, on FEMA’s website at Ready.gov or on NOAA’s website at www.noaa.gov/wrn.