Severe Storm Safety: What You Need to Know

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Severe storms can happen anywhere, anytime in Illinois. <?xml:namespace prefix = o />

Last spring, extensive flooding throughout the state of Illinois resulted in more than $166 million in federal assistance to individuals for essential home repairs and clean-up. Then in November, severe storms and tornadoes left more than 1,000 homes severely damaged or destroyed throughout Illinois.

Disasters such as these show us how unexpected weather can be. But that doesn’t mean you can’t prepare for it. Hazardous weather is a risk everyone should be ready for.

March 2 – 8, 2014 marks the third annual National Severe Weather Preparedness Week – a partnership between FEMA and NOAA to encourage all Americans to learn their weather risks and take steps to prepare.

The first step is to know your risk – understand the types of hazardous weather that can affect your community, and the impact it may have on you and your family. Check the weather forecast regularly and sign up for alerts from your local emergency management officials. Consider purchasing a NOAA weather radio to get the latest updates on severe weather in your area.

Understand the hazards for which you are at risk for and then take action: Develop an emergency plan based on your local weather hazards and practice how and where to take shelter before a severe weather event. Post your plan in your home where family and visitors can see it. Create or refresh an emergency kit for needed food, supplies and medication—make sure to keep a kit in your car, at the office and at home, so you are protected regardless of where you may be. For a list of items to include in your emergency kit, visit www.ready.gov/build-a-kit.

Don’t forget to consider pets when making emergency plans, and also take into account any unique needs you or your family might have so you’re best prepared for unforeseen emergencies.

It isalso important to take the time now to assure you are fully insured. Contact your insurance agent to review your insurance coverage so your home is financially protected from the impacts of severe weather.

“Many Illinois residents were impacted by costly floods and dangerous storms in 2013” said FEMA Region V Administrator Andrew Velasquez III. Taking steps now to prepare will ensure you are ready if severe weather threatens your area this year.”

"It's been a long, hard winter in Illinois and everyone is looking forward to warmer weather," said IEMA Director Jonathon Monken. "Warmer weather can bring with it the threat of dangerous weather, such as tornadoes, severe storms and flooding. We're working to help Illinois citizens understand these hazards and providing information that will help them be better prepared for the unexpected."

For even more readiness information follow FEMA Region V at twitter.com/femaregion5 and facebook.com/fema. Individuals can always find valuable severe weather preparedness information at www.ready.gov/severe-weatheror download the free FEMA app, available for Android, Apple or Blackberry devices.

FEMA’s mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.

Follow FEMA online at twitter.com/femaregion5, www.facebook.com/fema, and www.youtube.com/fema.  Also, follow Administrator Craig Fugate's activities at twitter.com/craigatfema. The social media links provided are for reference only. FEMA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies or applications.

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