Public Schools of Robeson County’s educators, students and the administration proudly support the National Severe Weather Preparedness Week, which began Sunday and runs until Saturday. This week gives us an opportunity to inform students and staff about severe weather hazards and provide knowledge that can be used to prepare and take action. These actions can be used to save lives at home, in schools and in the workplace before tornadoes, severe thunderstorms and extreme weather strikes.
This year’s theme is “Be a Force of Nature: Take the Next Step.” Building a weather-ready school district requires action by all of us. Therefore, the Public Schools of Robeson County has asked principals across the county to take a single preparedness action during each day of the National Severe Weather Preparedness Week. Sponsored by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration, National Severe Weather Preparedness Week is a nationwide effort designed to increase awareness of the severe weather that affects everyone and to encourage individuals, families, businesses and communities to know the risk, take action and be an example.
Being prepared to act quickly can be a matter of survival. This is especially evident during the threat of severe weather. A tornado that hit Moore, Okla., in May is estimated to have caused approximately $2 billion in property damage. In November, at least 70 tornadoes spanned seven Midwestern states.
Severe weather could happen at any time, anywhere. Even though the Oklahoma tornado outbreak was forecasted for days in advance, and warning lead times for the tornado outbreak averaged nearly 20 minutes, there were still many people in the damaged areas that stated they were unprepared.
Knowing your risk of severe weather, taking action and being an example are just a few steps you can take to be better prepared to save your life and assist in saving the lives of others.
The statewide tornado drill will take place today at 9:30 a.m. Students across the Public Schools of Robeson County will participate in the statewide drill.
— Know your risk: The first step to becoming weather-ready is to understand the type of hazardous weather that can affect where you live and work, and how the weather could impact you and your family. Check the weather forecast regularly, obtain a NOAA Weather Radio, and learn about wireless emergency alerts. Severe weather comes in many forms and your shelter plan should include all types of local hazards.
— Take action: Before storms strike, develop a family communication plan, create or purchase an emergency supplies kit, and participate in a local event on April 30 through America’s PrepareAthon. http://www.fema.gov/americas-prepareathon
— Be an example: Share your preparedness story with your friends and family on Facebook and Twitter. Letting others know that you are prepared will prompt them to prepare as well. Studies show that many people use social media in the event of a disaster to let relatives and friends know they are safe. This is an important trend because people are most likely to take preparedness steps if they observe the preparations taken by others. Social media provides the perfect platform to model preparedness actions for others.
Being weather ready is a collective effort. It takes the whole community to effectively prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate against damages caused by tornadoes, severe thunderstorms and other severe weather.
We are proud to support the goals of National Severe Weather Preparedness Week. By preparing our communities, we are able to build a weather-ready nation — one that is resilient in the face of extreme weather.
Learn more at www.weather.gov and www.ready.gov/severe-weather or the Spanish-language web site www.listo.gov. Follow the National Weather Service @nws and FEMA @readygov on Twitter.