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Tornado Readiness Resources

It’s spring and that means we will probably be seeing an increase in tornado activity. Are you prepared to take shelter if a tornado is coming your way?

Go through the items in your emergency kit to be sure nothing is outdated and everything works properly. Make copies of important documents and put them in a zipper bag to keep in your emergency kit.

Be sure you have a weather radio in your home and in your vehicle so you can stay aware of weather alerts.

Brush up on safety procedures with your family. Here are some links with useful information:

Discovery.com shows us 5 Tornado Safety Myths Debunked. Knowing what is fact and what is fiction is essential to staying safe during a tornado.

Iowa State University has Tornado Safety Rules so you’ll know what to do if you’re at home, in a car, in a motel or in a mobile home.

Emergency preparedness organizations offer a Tornado Safety Checklist PDF that you can print off and keep handy. They also offer a Tornado Warning & Alert app for Android and iPhone. It provides you with step-by-step instructions, quizzes, and everything you need to know about tornado safety and preparedness.

The following video is great to share with the family so everyone understands Tornado Safety.

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5 Wilderness Survival Tips

wilderness survival

Believe it or not, it is spring. At least according to the calendar. That means temperatures will start warming and we will start spending more time outdoors. For many, that means camping, fishing, hiking and a variety of other activities in wilderness areas.

Before you take off into the great outdoors, consider these wilderness survival tips to ensure that you come home safe and sound.

1. Have a plan. Decide ahead of time where you will go, what route you will take and when you will return. Make a copy of this information and leave it with someone who isn’t going along with you. If you do not return when expected, this person will be able to contact authorities for help.

2. Dress for the possibilities. It may be sunny and warm when you leave, but the weather can change quickly, especially if you are in mountain areas. Make sure you bring extra clothing just in case the temperatures drop or a sudden storm blows in.

3. Know the area. If you are visiting a place you’ve never explored before, have a map to help you find your way around. Stay on established trails if at all possible. Nothing ruins an outing faster than getting lost.

4. Be aware of your surroundings. Pay close attention to loose rocks and other hazards that may cause you to fall and injure yourself. Keep an eye out for local wildlife so you can avoid dangerous confrontations.

5. Bring emergency supplies. At the very least, bring a small first aid kit, extra food, water and/or a water filtration bottle, and an emergency blanket or two. Also carry a flashlight and have a way to start a fire. If you get lost or hurt, you will need these items to stay warm, build a shelter and signal for help.

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Surviving a Sinking Vehicle

There isn’t a much scarier thought than being in a car that has gone off the road and into the water. As the car begins to sink, you may start to panic, but that is the last thing you should do.

Stay calm and assess the situation. If you are able to roll the windows down, unbuckle your seatbelt and swim out of the vehicle.

If you are not able to open the windows, you may need to allow the car to fill with water. This will help equalize the pressure, allowing you to open the window or door. Once the car is full of water, you should be able to open the door, remove your seatbelt and get out of the car.

If you are still unable to get out, grab your Emergency Auto Hammer to break the glass and swim free.

Watch this video for tips on escaping a sinking vehicle:

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Youth Preparedness Council

responsible youth

In an effort to help youths aged 12 to 17 to be more involved in their communities by making a difference in emergency preparedness, FEMA is looking for applicants for its National Youth Preparedness Council. They have shared the following press release:

FEMA Seeks Applicants for Youth Preparedness Council


Washington – The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is seeking nominations for participants in the Agency’s Youth Preparedness Council (YPC).


The Youth Preparedness Council provides an opportunity for young leaders to serve as a member of a distinguished national council; to complete a youth preparedness project of their choosing; to learn about youth disaster preparedness from the leadership at FEMA and other national organizations dedicated to youth preparedness; to voice their opinions, experiences, and share innovative ideas and solutions; and to participate in the Youth Preparedness Council Summit where the council meets with emergency management leadership to discuss steps to strengthen the nation’s resiliency against all types of disasters.


Participants are expected to represent the youth perspective on emergency preparedness and relay information within their communities. Each council member is expected to develop and complete one preparedness-related project specific to his/her region and interests. In addition to attending the Summit in the summer of 2013, council members will potentially participate in national, regional, state, tribal and local preparedness meetings and present their work. It is expected that members will meet with FEMA on a regular basis via conference call to provide ongoing input on strategies, initiatives and projects throughout the duration of their term.


Anyone between the ages of 12 and 17, who is engaged in individual and community preparedness, is encouraged to apply or be nominated to serve on the Youth Preparedness Council. An individual may apply on his/her own behalf, or can be nominated by an adult familiar with his/her youth preparedness activities. Individuals interested in applying must submit a completed application form, a narrative, and a letter of recommendation. The letter of recommendation can be from any adult, including a parent, guardian, community first responder, or teacher. Applications that do not include a letter of recommendation will not be reviewed. Individuals interested in nominating a young leader to the council should complete the application form and narrative, but a letter of recommendation is not mandatorySpecific information about completing and submitting the application and attachments can be found on the application.


All applications and supporting materials must be received no later than 11:59 E.D.T. on April 19, 2013 in order to be eligible.


Council members will be selected based on vacancies and announced in May 2013. Once selected, members serve on the Council for one year, with the option to extend for an additional year, based on a formal request by FEMA.


For more information about the Youth Preparedness Council and FEMA’s work on youth preparedness, and to access the application materials, please visit www.ready.gov/youth-preparedness.


If you have any further questions, please contact Citizen Corps at (202) 786-9550 or CitizenCorps@dhs.gov .


FEMA’s mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.



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Sanitation After a Disaster

Proper hygiene and sanitation are essential for the prevention of disease following a disaster. When water is limited, this could be difficult. You may think you can rely on hand sanitizers to stay clean, but hand sanitizers are not effective against all germs, and they won’t help if your hands are visibly dirty.

While boiled or disinfected water can be used for hand washing as well as washing dishes, it is wise to have a supply of water stored for emergency use. This can be used for cooking, bathing and wound care.

Even though CDC recommendations are to store 1 gallon of water per day, per person, that is a bare minimum and you are likely to need more. Storing water in 55 gallon barrels will help ensure that you have enough safe, clean water for all of your family’s personal hygiene needs. Treat stored water with Water Preserver Concentrate and it will be safe to use for up to 5 years.

Clean water is just one part of hygiene after a disaster. Proper waste disposal is also essential. If there has been flooding, sewer systems cannot function the way they should, resulting in sewage backing up into your home.

In this modern age, it is hard to imagine using something other than a normal bathroom with a flushing toilet, but after a disaster, you may need to resort to other means. Outdoors people may feel that simply digging a hole in the ground and burying waste is sufficient, and in many cases that is just fine, but if the ground is saturated after a flood, this can cause more contamination to surrounding wells and water supplies.

Keep a portable toilet or bucket with disposable plastic liners to use as an emergency toilet. You should also have chemicals to disinfect your portable toilet. This will help you keep your living area clean and reduce the spread of germs.

When liner bags are full, seal them with a twist tie so you can dispose of the entire bag. A large plastic trash can with a tight fitting lid can be used to store bags of waste until normal disposal methods are restored.

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