FEMA, NOAA launch National Severe Weather Preparedness Week March 3-9

Be a Force of Nature at Bucknell

FEMA, NOAA Launch National Severe Weather Preparedness
Week March 3-9

Brad Meyer

Contributing Writer

The past few years have served as a difficult reminder that severe weather can strike anytime and any place. Nearly every region of the country experienced some form of extreme weather, from hurricanes to snowstorms to tornadoes and even a historic derecho–a rare and violent line of thunderstorms. Even the Lewisburg community suffered from severe flooding in Sept. 2011, which devastated families and structures downtown and caused the evacuation of several areas of the campus.

Krissy Brundage ’13 is from Colts Neck, N.J., only a few miles inland from where Superstorm Sandy made landfall in October.

“One of my friends didn’t protect and reinforce the windows to his apartment. When they returned, the windows were smashed and sand covered the floor. The power outage even knocked out wireless towers for days in some areas, leaving many uninformed and in the dark,” Brundage said.

In these situations, even small details like a battery-powered radio were vital to receiving information and updates from local authorities. Megan Maschal ’13 from Beach Haven, N.J. was also hard-hit by Sandy.

“Social media actually saved us during the aftermath. It was the only way to know or see what was going on. The best preparation anyone could really do in our situation was evacuate, and the town was strict with enforcing that before Sandy hit and in the following weeks. The Red Cross was fast to respond with food and water,” Maschal said. “[Even with the media hype beforehand], we had no idea it would be that bad.”

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) insists when destruction and loss is inevitable, there are steps that can be taken to ensure readjusting, rebuilding and recovering can be as quick and painless as possible. Each year, many people are killed or seriously injured by severe weather, flooding, hurricanes and severe thunderstorms, despite advance warning. In 2012, there were more than 450 weather-related fatalities and nearly 2,600 injuries nationwide.

FEMA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have partnered to highlight the importance of making severe weather preparedness a nationwide priority. Recently, NOAA teamed up with FEMA’s National Preparedness Coalition to announce the launch of National Severe Weather Preparedness Week whose principles can be applied at the University.

Reflecting on some of the recent tragic weather, they are calling on you to “Be a Force of Nature.” Knowing your risk, taking action and being an example for others are just a few steps you can take to be better prepared and assist in saving lives. Join FEMA in becoming “A Force of Nature,” by Pledging to Prepare and follow these steps before severe weather affects our area.

Know your risk: The first step to becoming weather-ready is to understand the type of hazardous weather that can affect where we live and work, and how the weather could impact you and your family. Check the weather forecast regularly and visit ready.gov/severe-weather to learn more about how to be better prepared and how you can protect your family during emergencies. Sign up for local alerts from emergency management officials and obtain a weather radio. Severe weather comes in many forms and your emergency preparedness and shelter plan should include all types of local hazards.

Pledge and take action: Pledge to develop an emergency plan based on your local weather hazards and practice how and where to take shelter before a severe weather event. Post the plan in your home where family members and visitors can see it, and make sure your hall takes the same steps as well. Learn how to strengthen your home and business against severe weather. 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. Stay informed by having multiple sources for weather alerts–NOAA Weather Radio, Weather.gov and Wireless Emergency Alerts. Subscribe to receive alerts at www.weather.gov/subscribe.

Be an example: Once you have taken action, tell your family, friends and co-workers about how they can prepare. Share the resources and alert systems you discovered through your social media network. Studies show that individuals need to receive messages a number of ways before acting–be one of those sources.

Building a weather-ready nation requires the action of each and every one of us. A weather-ready nation is building community resilience in the face of increasing vulnerability to extreme weather and water events. Pledge to be prepared and learn more at ready.gov/severe-weather and Weather-Ready Nation and encourage the University community to “Be a Force of Nature.”

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