By Jennifer Arguinzoni

The No. 1 way to lessen the potential impacts from a severe weather emergency is to be prepared.

This week (March 2-8) is “National Severe Weather Preparedness Week,” and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) are teaming up to launch the “Be a Force of Nature Campaign,” This  comprehensive public education effort is aimed at improving the way people prepare for and respond to severe weather emergencies. 

The nationwide campaign is not only designed to promote awareness during “National Severe Weather Preparedness Week,” but it is also intended to increase awareness of the risks of severe weather and encourage individuals, families, businesses and community leaders to know their risk, take action and be an example all year long.

Know Your Risk:

Every state experiences tornadoes and severe weather events. During May 2013, a total of 267 tornadoes occurred across 25 states. Being ready and acting quickly could mean the difference between life and death in these situations. It’s not a matter of if, it’s when.

Take Action:

Don’t be caught without a paddle. Be prepared before the next severe weather event strikes. Develop a plan for communicating critical information to family members. Assemble an emergency kit from household items like flashlights, batteries, bottled water and non-perishable foods. Secure important papers and valuables in a safe space. Finally, learn about and take note of vital information transmitted to your mobile device using the Wireless Emergency Alert system. Last year, millions of individuals across the country received these geographically targeted emergency alerts with life-saving weather warnings via their cell phone.  

Be an Example:

Once you have taken action to prepare for severe weather, share your plan with your constituents, family and friends on your website, Facebook or Twitter.

Severe Weather Preparedness Week Toolkit:

America’s Preparathon:
To learn more about taking action and gather resources

National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration State Events Calendar:
Many states have various preparedness weeks of their own. Track your own state here-

Information on Wireless Emergency Alerts:

Jennifer Arguinzoni is an NCSL policy specialist in NCSL's Washington, D.C. office.

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This blog offers updates on the National Conference of State Legislatures' research and training, the latest on federalism and the state legislative institution, and posts about state legislators and legislative staff. The blog is edited by NCSL staff and written primarily by NCSL's experts on public policy and the state legislative institution.


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