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Before the storm, be prepared

Many people are killed or seriously injured by tornadoes and severe thunderstorms each year despite advance warning. Some didn’t hear the warning; others heard the warning but didn’t believe they would be in the path; and many others simply were not prepared.

FEMA, American Red Cross and the National Weather Service urge every household to develop an emergency plan.

The following information, combined with careful attention to severe weather watches and warnings, may save your live.

• Know the risk for the area in which you live or visit. Weather service warnings identify locations in the path of approaching severe weather.

• Have a public alert certified NOAA weather radio and battery backup to receive warnings in the event power is lost.

• Discuss thunderstorm and tornado safety with all members of your household.

• Weather service watches ands warnings are available on the Internet. Select and bookmark your local weather service office from

• Download a weather alert application for your smartphone. This will alert you when a warning is issued when you’re not near a weather radio or an outdoor weather siren.

Keep in mind that even though the weather may be calm at the time a tornado or severe thunderstorm watch or warning is issued for your area, conditions can rapidly deteriorate and become life threatening. Always heed warnings even if warnings issued for your area in the past did not result in severe weather. Don’t gamble with your life.

• Tornadoes and severe thunderstorms can and do occur at an location, anytime of day or night, and anytime of the year given the right atmospheric conditions.

• Tune into a radio or television weather information source for severe weather watch and warning information.

• If severe weather threatens, check on people who are elderly, very young or physically or mentally disabled.

• Having a safe room in your home or small business can help provide “near-absolute protection” for you and your family or your employees from injury or death caused by extreme winds.

• If no safe room or underground shelter is available. A small, windowless interior room or hallway on the lowest level of a sturdy building is the safest alternative.