Severe spring weather threatens the Midwest—are you prepared?

Staff Report

CHICAGO—The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Region V office is encouraging residents and business owners to take steps now to prepare for severe spring weather, including floods, tornadoes and severe storms.

“As the threat of spring storms continues, this is an opportunity for everyone to review their preparedness plans so they know how to react should severe weather strike,” said Andrew Velasquez III, FEMA Region V administrator. “When putting together your family emergency plan, remember the unique needs of your family. Make sure you plan for the needs of infants and small children, older adults, people with disabilities, as well as your pets.”

Individuals, families and businesses can take steps now to prepare by:

  • Preparing emergency supply kits that include:
  • a three-day supply of nonperishable food and bottled water
  • battery-powered weather radio
  • flashlight with extra batteries
  • first aid kit
  • prescription medicines and glasses
  • pet food and extra water for your pet
  • copies of important documents, including driver’s license, Social Security card, proof of residence, insurance policies, wills, deeds, birth and marriage certificates, tax records, etc.
  • Having a disaster plan so your family knows how to contact one another, how you will get back together, and what you will do in different situations. Also, be sure to have copies of plans developed by your school and workplace.
  • Identifying evacuation routes and a site away from the disaster area where family members can meet.
  • Identifying business operations that are critical to survival and recovery. Communicate your plan with your employees, and develop systems to keep in touch with them should a disaster occur.
  • Heeding all local warnings—listen to news and directions from your local and state officials. If told to evacuate, do so. Familiarize yourself with the terms that are used to identify the various hazards, and know the difference between a watch and a warning.

For more tips about how to be prepared for spring weather, visit

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.

From the May 18-24, 2011 issue

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