National Severe Weather Preparedness Week is being observed from March 3 through March 9, 2013. During this week, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and local emergency management agencies are highlighting the importance of planning and practicing how and where to take shelter before severe weather strikes. Being prepared to act quickly can be a matter of life and death.
Each day of Severe Weather Preparedness Week has a theme. Today the focus is "Know Your Risk." Despite the advances in technology and the ability to provide advance warning of severe weather, each year people are killed or seriously injured by tornadoes and other types of severe weather. There are many sources that provide information about how to protect yourself and your family in the event of any type of emergency. Knowing and understanding this information ahead of time will help you develop a plan and to be prepared for whatever the forces of nature send our way.
It is also important to know the difference between a National Weather Service watch and warning.
- A watch lets you know that weather conditions are favorable for a hazard to occur. It literally means to "be on guard!" Monitor the weather broadcasts and prepare to take shelter if necessary.
- A warning requires immediate action. This means a weather hazard is imminent -- it is either occurring (a tornado has been spotted, for example) -- or it is about to occur. Find safe shelter immediately.
One step St. Louisans can take is to sign up for Nixle, a free alerting system used only to distribute emergency information via text messaging and email, although regular text rates may apply. You may sign up by visiting the nixle.com web site or by texting STLCEMA to 888777.
For more information on disaster preparedness and emergency management program, visit the City Emergency Management Agency page on this web site.
Tomorrow's Topic: Make a Plan
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