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FRANKFORT, Ky. (March 5, 2013) - Kentucky Emergency Management (KYEM) and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) are teaming up to promote National Severe Weather Preparedness Week March 3-9. Sponsored by FEMA and the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Severe Weather Preparedness Week encourages individuals, families, businesses and communities to know about severe weather risks, take action to prepare for them, and “Be a Force of Nature” by encouraging others to get prepared.

Each year, many people are killed or seriously injured by tornadoes and other types of severe weather, despite advance warning. In 2012, there were more than 450 weather-related fatalities and nearly 2,600 injuries nationwide. Severe weather knows no boundaries and affects every individual in every region. Because of this, we are calling on you to “Be a Force of Nature” and lead others to preparedness.

“Knowing your risk, taking action and being an example are just a few steps you can take to be better prepared and assist in saving lives,” said Phil May, FEMA Regional Administrator. “Preparedness means understanding that disasters can happen without notice, and being prepared is the only way to take care of yourself and members of your family when severe weather strikes.”

John Heltzel, director of KYEM, said, “Although state and local governments are here to assist the public during these times, preparedness starts at home. It starts with being aware of conditions and situations that threaten you and your family’s safety and then taking appropriate steps.”

Here are a few simple steps you can take to be prepared:

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, get a NOAA Weather Radio, and sign up for localized alerts from emergency management officials. Severe weather comes in many forms, and your shelter plan should include all types of local hazards.

Take Action:  “Be a Force of Nature” by taking the pledge to prepare at www.Ready.gov/severe­weather. When you pledge to prepare, you will take the first step to making sure that you and your family are prepared for severe weather. This includes developing a family communication  plan, putting an emergency kit together, keeping important papers and valuables in a safe place and getting involved in your local community to help others prepare.

tweet. 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.

More information and ideas on how you can “Be a Force of Nature” can be found at www.Ready.gov/severe-weather. Information on the different types of severe weather such as tornadoes, severe thunderstorms and flooding is available at www.weather.gov and www.Ready.gov or the Spanish-language website www.listo.gov.

Previously Gov. Steve Beshear signed a proclamation naming March as Severe Weather Awareness Month in Kentucky. The proclamation, information on KYEM, additional resources and severe weather safety tips can be found at http://kyem.ky.gov/SW/Pages/default.aspx .

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