At the end of each week, we post a "What We’re Watching" blog as we look ahead to the weekend and recap events from the week. We encourage you to share it with your friends and family, and have a safe weekend.
Springtime severe weather
The variety of weather we’ve seen across the U.S. this week has been amazing. Every day there have been wildfires, floods, blizzards, droughts, and thunderstorms. We continue to support our state, local and tribal emergency management partners as needed – and you can do your part by making sure you’re prepared for whatever weather spring throws at you.
- If your home or business is in an area susceptible to wildfires, create a 30 to 100 foot “safety zone” around your home. Within the zone, remove leaves, brush, or any flammable vegetation. And be sure to keep gasoline cans, oily rags, or other flammable materials away from the base of buildings
- Have an evacuation plan. If local officials give the order for your neighborhood or area to evacuate – don’t stay. If you have pets, make sure to bring them with you.
- Don’t drive to the fire – give emergency crews ample space to do their work and stay off access roads that are frequently used by firefighters or emergency vehicles.
- Get more tips at www.Ready.gov/wildfires or on your phone at http://m.fema.gov/wildfires
- Don’t drive or walk through flood waters, they could be contaminated with gasoline, oil, or raw sewage.
- When water levels are high, stay from streams, drainage channels, canyons and other areas that could flood suddenly
- Don’t try to drive through flooded roads. The depth of water is not always obvious. Remember, turn around, don’t drown.
- More flood safety tips online at www.Ready.gov/floods and on your phone at http://m.fema.gov/floods
- Blizzards and snow
- Be extra cautious while driving. Travel during the day and make sure to have some emergency supplies in your vehicle. Things like extra blankets, road flares, a shovel, a battery-powered radio, and extra food and water will come in handy should you get stuck.
- Stay up to date on your local conditions. Weather.gov is a great place to get your weather forecast each day, or tune in to local radio or TV for an update.
- Two sites to bookmark for winter safety tips: www.Ready.gov/floods for your computer and http://m.fema.gov/winter-storms-extreme-cold for your phone
CAPTION: Breezy Point, N.Y., March 22, 2013 -- Residents of this Queens neighborhood are rebuilding their homes damaged by Hurricane Sandy. This house is in the process of being elevated above the new flood level to prevent damage from future storm surges and flooding.
In case you missed it earlier this week, Mike Byrne, FEMA’s lead in New York after Hurricane Sandy, offered his thoughts on the progress made six months after the storm. His key message: the work is far from over, and a full recovery will continue to require a full team effort. Here is some of what Mike had to say (you can find the full article here):
In the immediate aftermath of the storm, thousands were without power, the subways and tunnels were filled with water; many hospitals shut down, including Bellevue, Coney Island and NYU Langone hospitals; and thousands of homes were unlivable.
But this is New York. We bounce back. State, tribal and local governments have joined forces with a host of federal agencies, as well as businesses, volunteers and survivors, to get things up and running again. oday the signs of recovery can be seen across Long Island and the city, and more than $6.6 billion in federal assistance has been distributed to New York communities and survivors.
Are we done? No. This is just the beginning.
Now we turn to the next phase in recovery. Just as we brought together every sector of the federal government immediately after the storm, in the months that followed, we've brought together a roster of partners to help rebuild New York.
Video to share this weekend
As I mentioned earlier, spring has arrived and brought warmer weather to most of the country. If you’re anything like me, I always look forward to firing up the grill as soon as I can stand to be outside. Grills are great, but misusing outdoor cooking equipment is the cause of many home fires each year. So check out this video from FEMA’s U.S. Fire Administration to make sure you’re a grill master that’s also an expert on preventing grill-related fires:
Have a safe, enjoyable weekend!