FEMA prepares for severe weather

(AP Images)

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KSNW) – With the potential for severe weather across the plains and several Midwestern states Tuesday and into Wednesday morning, staff at the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s FEMA Region VII office are coordinating with state and local officials in Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska in preparation for the potential storms and urges the public to be prepared and stay informed.

“As the threat of severe weather develops, we urge residents to monitor digital media feeds for updates, listen to NOAA Weather Radios and local newscasts, and follow the instructions provided by local emergency officials,” said FEMA Region VII Deputy Administrator Kathy Fields. “The most important things are to stay informed, have a plan and to do what’s necessary to keep you and your family safe.”

When severe weather hits, the first responders are local emergency and public works personnel, volunteers, humanitarian organizations, and numerous private interest groups. The individuals within these organizations provide emergency assistance to protect the public’s health and safety and services to meet immediate needs. During this time, FEMA continues to coordinate closely with state and local partners to monitor any needs that may arise as a result of the storms.

Preparing for Severe Weather Now

This severe weather threat is a reminder that everyone needs a family emergency plan as we can’t always anticipate when or where a disaster might strike. For more information on creating your family’s emergency plan, visit http://www.ready.gov/make-a-plan.

To prepare for power outages and the disruption of essential services, FEMA urges families to prepare an emergency supply kit for their homes and cars, http://www.ready.gov/build-a-kit. When preparing a kit, remember water, medications, and items needed for the well-being of your pets.
Responding to Severe Weather

If you have severe weather in your area, keep in mind these safety tips:

• Become familiar with the terms used to identify a severe weather hazard and discuss with your family what to do if a watch or warning is issued. Terms used to describe weather hazards include the following:

Watch: Meteorologists are monitoring an area or region for the formation of a specific type of threat (e.g. flooding, severe thunderstorms, or tornados).

Warning: Specific life and property threatening conditions are occurring and imminent. Take appropriate safety precautions.

• Mobile homes, even if tied down, offer little protection from tornadoes and should be abandoned. A mobile home can overturn very easily even if precautions have been taken to tie down the unit. Residents of mobile homes must plan in advance and identify safe shelter in a nearby building.

• Be aware that flash flooding can occur within minutes and with little notice. If there is any possibility of a flash flood, move immediately to higher ground. Do not wait for instructions to move. Do not drive through flood water. Turn around, don’t drown!

• Do not touch downed power lines or objects in contact with downed lines. Report downed power lines and electrical hazards to the police and the utility company.

• After a disaster, be aware of possible structural, electrical or gas-leak hazards in your home. Contact your local city or county building inspectors for information on structural safety codes and standards and before going back to a property with downed power lines, or the possibility of a gas leak. They may also offer suggestions on finding a qualified contractor to do work for you.

• Injury may occur when people walk amid disaster debris and enter damaged buildings. Wear sturdy shoes or boots, long sleeves and gloves when handling or walking on or near debris.

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