After a long winter, most Nebraskans are ready for spring. With the changing of the seasons can come severe weather including floods, tornados, thunderstorms, lightning, drought and wildfires.Each year, Nebraska observes Severe Weather Awareness Week. This year it is March 24-28 and serves as a reminder that we all need to think about what we would do if a weather emergency affected our home and family.
Nebraska Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) is asking that all Nebraskans learn what the risks are and take action before severe weather strikes. I encourage our citizens to take steps to ensure families, homes and businesses are prepared for a possible emergency.
Knowing what to do before, during and after an emergency is a critical part of being prepared and may make all the difference to your safety when seconds count. Review the information NEMA has Severe Storms - A Guide to Survival and Drought and Wildfire Information online through www.nema.nebraska.gov.
Items to have ready in case of an emergency include: water (one gallon per person, per day), non-perishable food, a battery-powered radio, flashlight with extra batteries, medicines, a hand-operated can opener, a utility knife, pet supplies and first aid supplies. Be sure to copy important documents, such as medical records, contracts, property deeds, leases, banking records, insurance records, and birth certificates and keep them in a safe place.
Before an event occurs is the time to prepare for severe weather. Listen carefully to instructions from local officials and take the recommended protective measures to safeguard life and property.
Dry conditions leading to wildfires are also a concern for Nebraskans this year. Pay attention to Red Flag or Fire Weather Warnings which mean conditions are favorable for a fire to start and spread rapidly. If you are in an area where warnings have been issued or where wildfires are burning, listen to local radio and television stations for updated emergency information and be prepared to take action if needed.
Make sure you know the difference between a watch and a warning. For instance, a tornado watch is issued when weather conditions are favorable for the formation of tornadoes. You should stay tuned to local weather reports for up-to-date information. A tornado warning is issued when a tornado funnel is sighted or indicated by weather radar. You should take shelter immediately.
I encourage all citizens to make preparations for severe weather or other emergencies to ensure the safety of our families, homes and businesses. Let’s all work together to keep Nebraskans safe. For more ideas on how to be prepared, visit www.Ready.gov.