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Severe Weather Awareness Week Stresses Importance of Preparation

Russell Co. Emergency ManagementThe Kansas Adjutant General's Office has announced that March 3 through 9 is Severe Weather Awareness Week across the state.

As the end of winter draws closer, many Kansans are thinking toward the sunshine and balmy weather of spring. However, in addition to sunny skies and warmer temperatures, spring may also bring thunderstorms, flash floods, tornadoes and other severe weather. Despite advance warning many people are killed or seriously injured by tornadoes and other types of severe weather. In 2012, there were more than 450 weather-related fatalities and nearly 2,600 injuries nationwide.

To urge Kansans to start thinking about springtime emergency preparedness, Governor Sam Brownback signed a proclamation on Friday, February 22, designating March 3 through 9 as "Severe Weather Awareness Week in Kansas." The proclamation coincides with the national Severe Weather Awareness Week.

"We hope that every Kansan has already prepared a home emergency kit and devised an emergency plan," said Angee Morgan, deputy director of the Kansas Division of Emergency Management. "However, if they haven't, this would be the perfect time to do so and make sure you and your family are ready for severe weather."

Morgan said a home emergency kit should include everything needed for each family member to survive for a minimum of three days without power or heat. Kits should include one gallon of water per person per day; nonperishable, high energy foods; a battery powered NOAA weather radio; flashlights; extra batteries; a safe, alternate heat source; blankets; medications and other essentials. Additional information about preparing an emergency kit may be found online at www.ksready.gov.

Morgan said having an emergency plan is as important as making an emergency kit.

"Make sure everyone in the family knows the plan," said Morgan. "If you don't have a specially constructed storm shelter, make sure everyone knows where the 'safe spot' is in your home. Designate a place to meet in case you become separated. Review safety rules regarding downed power lines and broken gas lines. The idea is to think about what it will take to keep everyone safe and put that into your plan. Then, practice it."

To help make emergency preparedness more manageable, KDEM has instituted an online "Kansas Preparedness Challenge." Completing each monthly challenge makes participants eligible for a prize drawing. Go to www.ksready.gov and click on the "Kansas Preparedness Challenge" link to get started.

For more information on emergency preparedness, go to www.ksready.gov, www.redcross.org, or www.fema.gov.

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