Today marks the official start of National Severe Weather Preparedness Week. Partnering with NOAA, the campaign started in pursuit of a Weather-Ready Nation, and in hopes that people would take the action and the steps necessary to prepare for severe weather. We never know when severe weather may strike, that’s why it’s so important to prepare in advance.
Every year, thousands of people are impacted by severe weather threats like tornadoes and severe thunderstorms. Last year saw 250 weather-related fatalities and more than 2,600 injuries. Every state in the U.S. has experienced tornadoes and severe weather -- some more than others. Six states experienced tornadoes in 2012, which caused $1.6 billion in damage. Everyone is at risk for severe weather and should take steps now to prepare for such events in your area. Being prepared to act quickly during severe weather can be a matter of life and death.
All week long, we’re calling for people across the country to pledge to prepare and to be a force of nature in your community by telling your family, friends and neighbors how you’ve prepared for severe weather. Pledging is the first step toward ensuring you and your loved ones are prepared for severe weather. The next step includes being informed - knowing the most common weather hazards in your area and what actions you should take can save your life and others. Once you know your vulnerability to common severe weather threats, develop a family communication plan, put together an emergency kit and get involved to help other prepare.
Visit Ready.gov to take the pledge, then be a force of nature and share how you and your family have prepared on your social media accounts and encourage others to pledge to prepare. If you’re on Twitter, use the hashtags #ImPrepared and #ImAForce to show you’ve pledged to prepare and are taking the first step in preparing your family and friends for severe weather.
This week, be sure to come back and check our blog for guest posts from partners across the emergency management team sharing their personal stories about experiencing and being prepared for severe weather. I hope you join us in becoming prepared for severe weather, if you haven’t already, and then help spread the message to your family, friends and community.
Here is the President’s message encouraging the nation to be prepared:
Last year, severe thunderstorms and tornadoes devastated communities nationwide. Hundreds of men and women lost their lives when disaster struck; still moe could only watch as a home or a business was destroyed in a storm. During National Severe Weather Preparedness Week, as Americans everywhere continue to help these families get back on their feet, we reaffirm that all of us can take action to make our communities safer, stronger, and more prepared for severe weather.
Building a more resilient Nation starts at home. Before storms strike, families should have an emergency supply kit on hand and an emergency plan in place. Homes and businesses should be properly secured. And if severe weather is on the horizon, those in its path should take shelter immediately and wait for instructions from local emergency management officials.
Because effective disaster preparedness depends on engaged citizens, my Administration remains committed to giving them the tools they need to keep their neighborhoods safe. We have joined with every level of government and partners in every sector to improve emergency management on the ground and issue timely alerts when severe weather is near. And to ensure people have accurate information when they need it most, we have enhanced www.Ready.gov and www.Listo.gov--a once-stop shop for preparedness before, during, and after the storm.
Protecting ourselves and our loved ones from severe weather takes a whole community, and each of us can play an important part. This week, I encourage all Americans to help meet tomorrow's challenges by making safety today's priority.