In like a lion, out like a lamb.
This old saying is often used to describe the month of March, a time when the weather is most changeable and oftentimes, hard to predict. For many, it could be sunny and 75 degrees one day, only to have torrential rain or heavy snow the next. For others, especially those living in the Central U.S. and the South, violent thunderstorms, or worse, deadly tornadoes, may occur.
To create awareness of the upcoming unpredictable weather season, March 2-8, 2014 has been declared National Severe Weather Preparedness Week by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
As both groups suggest, being prepared to act quickly in severe weather could be a matter of survival. Consider the deadliest and most destructive tornado of 2013, an EF-5 on May 20 in Moore, Oklahoma. This storm alone caused more than $2 billion in property damage, destroying over 1,100 homes, injured hundreds, and claimed the lives of 24 innocent people.
Even though severe weather was anticipated days in advance, many in the impacted areas said they did not have a plan, and were caught unprepared. Knowing your risk, taking action and being an example by sharing your knowledge and actions with your social network are just a few steps you can take to ready yourself and others.
In recognition of National Severe Weather Preparedness Week, Send Word Now encourages you to view our infographic Inside a Tornado: Fascinating Facts About Turbulent Twisters, as well as consider these best practices for preparedness.
Know Your Risk. Tornadoes, hurricanes, storms – every state in the U.S. experiences severe weather. Visit www.weather.gov to get the latest on weather threats in your area. Also, be aware that a large percentage of tornadoes occur during business hours. Make sure employees understand what to do and where to go if a tornado or other severe weather warning is issued.
Heed the Warnings (and the Watches). Don’t ignore weather watches and warnings issued by the National Weather Service. If a tornado warning is issued, instruct employees to take shelter immediately, as its issuance means a tornado may have been indicated on Doppler radar, a trained spotter has seen a funnel cloud or a tornado is actually on the ground.
Take Action. Monitor the weather closely, designate a “safe place” within your workplace, put an emergency kit together (yes, that can apply to businesses, too), and create (and test) a critical communications plan. Use emergency notification technology to alert employees via desktop alerting, phone, SMS and other means.
Be an Example. Once you’ve taken the necessary actions to prepare for severe weather, share best practices with business colleagues, co-workers and others, so they too may benefit.
And, remember, severe weather can happen anytime, not just in the spring. On November 17, a late season outbreak struck seven Midwestern states, becoming the most active tornado day of 2013 with a total of 74 tornadoes.
Take time now to prepare yourself and your organization for all that Mother Nature can, and inevitably will, dish out in the months ahead. Visit www.ready.gov to learn more.