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    2014 Severe Weather Awareness Week

    posted Apr 8, 2014, 9:37 AM by Erica Wirtz

    For more than 20 years, the state of Minnesota has conducted Minnesota Severe Weather Awareness Week in partnership with the National Weather Service and local governments. Minnesota Severe Weather Awareness Week  is April 21-25, 2014 with two statewide tornado drills on Thursday, April 24 at 1:45 p.m. and 6:55 p.m.

     

    This annual public event is designed to remind individuals, families, businesses, schools, and institutions that it’s essential to plan ahead for Minnesota’s severe spring and summer weather.

     

    An informed, involved community is more resilient to disaster, and being prepared helps reduce the risks and costs of hazardous weather events. An easy way to get prepared is by participating in Severe Weather Awareness Week (SWAW). The statewide tornado drills on Thursday, April 24 provide an excellent opportunity for citizens to prepare their homes, families, neighborhoods, and communities!

     

    After the long cold winters, and relatively short mild summers of the past few years, many people may have become complacent or simply forgotten how to react when severe weather warnings and events occur. Yet nearly every county in Minnesota experiences some type of severe weather every year.  Storms, lightning, hail, tornadoes, flooding, fires can occur anywhere. Simply being informed about these threats and having a plan to deal with them can often be the most important protection anyone can have.

     

    We hope you take the opportunity during Severe Weather Awareness Week and especially the tornado drills, to engage with your local communities about being prepared and how to be ready for anything mother nature brings.  

     

    AFTERNOON TORNADO DRILL APRIL 24, 2014 - 1:45 P.M.

    The drill traditionally occurs on Thursday afternoon at 1:45 p.m., when jurisdictions across Minnesota sound their outdoor warning sirens. Schools, businesses and other facilities are encouraged to conduct a tornado drill at this time to practice their tornado sheltering plans.

     

    EVENING TORNADO DRILL APRIL 24, 2014 - 6:55 P.M.

    The reason for a 6:55 p.m. drill is that severe weather including tornadoes occurs most often between 3 and 8 p.m. The statewide 1:45 p.m. drill gives institutions, first-shift and day workers a time to practice, but it does not allow second-shift workers the same opportunity. The 6:55 p.m. tornado drill also allows families to practice their sheltering plans.

     

    Please read and distribute the attached messages as appropriate.    Also attached is “My Phone List” for kids that HSEM created that can be printed and handed out.  These days, many kids (and adults) may not memorize telephone numbers or addresses as much and writing them down is a good way to start an emergency plan. 

     

    For more information and materials please visit the HSEM Weather Safety website at:

    Http://weatherawareness.dps.mn.gov.

     

    Thanks for participating!

    Why the Extreme Weather?

    posted Apr 3, 2014, 7:44 AM by Erica Wirtz

    Why the Extreme Weather?

     
    One of our current risks is the climate change that has lead to more extreme weather.

    The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has reported that “a changing climate leads to changes in the frequency, intensity, spatial extent, duration, and timing of extreme weather and climate events, and can result in unprecedented extreme weather and climate events”  The IPCC has also reported:

    • It is likely that the frequency of heavy precipitation or the proportion of total rainfall from heavy falls will increase in the 21st century over many areas of the globe
    • Average tropical cyclone maximum wind speed is likely to increase
    • There is medium confidence that droughts will intensify
    • It is very likely that mean sea level rise will contribute to upward trends in extreme coastal high water levels in the future
    • Extreme events will have greater impacts on sectors with closer links to climate, such as water, agriculture and food security, forestry, health, and tourism

    Floods Happen Everywhere, Be Prepared!

    posted Mar 17, 2014, 9:03 AM by Erica Wirtz

    During Flood Safety Awareness Week, March 16 to 22, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) are calling on individuals across the country to Be a Force of Nature: Take the Next Step by preparing for floods and encourage others to do the same.

     

    Floods are the most common — and costliest — natural disaster in the nation affecting every state and territory. A flood occurs somewhere in the United States or its territories nearly every day of the year. Flood Safety Awareness Week is an opportunity to learn about flood risk and take action to prepare your home and family. 

     

    "Many people needlessly pass away each year because they underestimate the risk of driving through a flooded roadway,” said Louis Uccellini, Ph.D., director of NOAA's National Weather Service. "Survive the storm: Turn Around Don't Drown at flooded roadways."

     

    “Floods can happen anytime and anywhere,” said FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate.  “Take steps now to make sure your family is prepared, including financial protection for your home or business through flood insurance. Find out how your community can take action in America’s PrepareAthon! with drills, group discussions and community exercises at www.ready.gov/prepare.”

     

     

    Our flood safety awareness message is simple: know your risk, take action, and be an example. The best way to stay safe during a flood and recover quickly once the water recedes is to prepare for a variety of situations long before the water starts to rise.

    • Know Your Risk:  The first step to becoming weather-ready is to understand that flooding can happen anywhere and affect where you live and work, and how the weather could impact you and your family. Sign up for weather alerts and check the weather forecast regularly at weather.gov. Now is the time to be prepared by ensuring you have real-time access to flood warnings via mobile devices, weather radio and local media, and avoiding areas that are under these warnings. Visit ready.gov/alerts to learn about public safety alerts and visit floodsmart.gov to learn about your flood risk and flood insurance available.
    • Take Action: Make sure you and your family members are prepared for floods.  You may not be together when weather strikes, so plan how you will contact one another by developing your family communication plan. Flood insurance is also an important consideration: just a few inches of water inside a home can cost tens of thousands of dollars in damage that typically will not be covered by a standard homeowner’s insurance policy.  Visit Ready.gov/prepare and NOAA to learn more actions you can take to be better prepared and important safety and weather information. 
    • Be an Example: Once you have taken action, tell family, friends, and co-workers to do the same. Technology today makes it easier than ever to be a good example and to share the steps you took to become weather-ready.

    From FEMA and NOAA

    Spring the Alarm

    posted Mar 14, 2014, 8:24 AM by Erica Wirtz

    Great reminder from FEMA:
     

    You changed your clocks for Daylight Saving Time, but what about your smoke alarm? As you prepare to spring forward, don’t forget to “spring” the alarm by replacing its batteries. Smoke alarm batteries should be changed at least once a year to make sure it operates properly when you need it the most.

    When fire breaks out, you only have seconds to escape its heat, black smoke and deadly gases. Increase your chances of survival by maintaining the smoke alarms in your home.  Here are more tips for making your home safer:

    ·         Place a smoke alarm on every level of your home and outside each bedroom. If you keep your bedroom doors closed, place a smoke alarm in each bedroom;

    ·         Check smoke alarms monthly by pushing the test button;

    ·         Never disable a smoke alarm when cooking; and

    ·         Smoke alarms wear out over time. Replace yours if it’s more than ten years old.

    Whirl Wind of Apps for Tornado

    posted Mar 5, 2014, 11:50 AM by Erica Wirtz   [ updated Mar 5, 2014, 11:52 AM ]

    With most Americans having smartphones, it is easy to have preparedness information right in your pocket. Ashley Sylvester, a prepared mother of two children and survivor of the 2013 Oklahoma tornado, shares in the America’s PrepareAthon! disaster survivor video she had emergency preparedness mobile applications (apps) that were  vital to her. When she received the alert about an impending tornado via a tornado mobile app, she knew it was serious and was able to quickly move her family to their safe room.

    Download the FEMA app to access disaster preparedness tips, get emergency meeting location information and more. Take your preparedness measures to the next level with FEMA text messages. Subscribe to receive regular safety tips for specific disaster types and search for open shelters. In addition, the American Red Cross has a host of weather-specific apps that will get you better prepared.
    *From FEMA

    Hot Actions for Winter Weather

    posted Mar 5, 2014, 8:18 AM by Erica Wirtz

    In the past few months and weeks many across the United States have felt frozen from the impact of severe winter storms and extreme cold. Just a few weeks ago, we heard many stories of those in the southern United States who had to deal with being stuck for hours in their car or without power due to extreme snow and icy conditions. 

    The importance of planning for severe weather is invaluable. In December 2013, we learned about James Glanton and Christine McIntee on cnn.com, as they tackled winter weather conditions. This family survived in sub-zero temperatures for two day in the Nevada wilderness after their car rolled off the side of the road.  How did the family survive?  Here are 5 things that they did to survive the harsh conditions:
    • They told relatives where they were going. Build or update your family communication plan with several contacts you can notify in an emergency; 
    • They did not leave to go find help.  It’s better to stick with your vehicle than going out on your own;
    • They were planning to play in the snow, so they were prepared for the elements. Include adequate clothing and blankets in your car to stay warm, especially if you will be traveling;
    • They improvised to stay warm by starting a fire outside the car, heating rocks and placing them inside the spare tire to keep everyone warm at night; and
    • They had food and water.  As part of an emergency supplies kit, Ready.gov recommends having a quantity of food and water to last at least 72 hours.
     
    *From FEMA

    Be a Force of Nature, National Severe Weather Preparedness Week is March 2-8

    posted Mar 3, 2014, 9:31 AM by Erica Wirtz   [ updated Mar 3, 2014, 9:32 AM ]

    NOAA, FEMA: Be a Force of Nature
    National Severe Weather Preparedness Week March 2-8

     

    During National Severe Weather Preparedness Week March 2 to 8, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) are calling on individuals across the country to Be a Force of Nature: Take the Next Step by preparing for severe weather and encouraging others to do the same.

     

    Just one tornado can cause catastrophic damage.  Last year, the EF 5 tornado that struck Moore, Okla., on May 20 killed 24 people and caused more than $2 billion in damage.  In 2013, a total of 903 tornadoes were reported in the United States.  Those tornadoes occurred in 43 states on 152 days, resulting in 55 fatalities and more than 500 injuries.

    As more people move to tornado-prone areas, knowing what to do when severe weather strikes could save lives.

    “With the devastation of last year’s tornadoes fresh in our minds and springtime almost here, I urge individuals to become weather-ready now,” said NOAA National Weather Service Director Dr. Louis Uccellini.  “Make sure you have multiple ways to access forecasts and warnings from NOAA’s National Weather Service before severe weather strikes.”

    “Being ready today can make a big difference for you when disaster strikes,” said FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate.  “It only takes a few minutes.  Talk with your family and agree to a family plan. Learn easy steps on how to prepare at Ready.gov and find out how your community can take action in America’s PrepareAthon through drills, group discussions and community exercises.”

    Our severe weather safety message is simple: know your risk, take action, be an example.

    Know Your Risk: The first step to becoming weather-ready is to understand the type of hazardous weather that can affect where you live and work, and how the weather could impact you and your family.  Sign up for weather alerts and check the weather forecast regularly.

    Take Action: Make sure you and your family are prepared for severe weather.  Your family may not be together when a storm strikes, so plan how you will contact one another by developing your family communication plan.  Make sure you put together an emergency kit and store important papers and valuables in a safe place.  Visit Ready.gov/severe-weather to learn more about how to be better prepared and how you can protect your family when severe weather strikes.

    Be an Example: Once you have taken action, tell family, friends, and co-workers to do the same.  Share the resources and alert systems you discovered through your social media network. Technology today makes it easier than ever to be a good example and share the steps you took to become weather-ready.  Share these new videos to help your friends and families to prepare.

    Get Weather Ready: Before a Tornado - http://youtu.be/uE66ganofF0

    Get Weather Ready: During a Tornado - http://youtu.be/_5TiTfuvotc

    Get Weather Ready: After a Tornado - http://youtu.be/UQ94ESZulA8

    NOAA and FEMA’s involvement in the innovative Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEAs) project, a new text-like message system, is part of a national effort to increase emergency preparedness and build a Weather-Ready Nation.  Last year millions of individuals across the country received WEAs with life-saving weather warnings via their cell phone.  These geographically targeted emergency alerts have allowed people to receive weather warnings they would not have otherwise received, and many people took life-saving action.  For more information, visit www.ready.gov/alerts.

    Preparing for Spring Weather Webinar

    posted Mar 3, 2014, 8:29 AM by Erica Wirtz

    Preparing for Spring Weather Webinar

    Tuesday, March 11th, 2014, 1pm to 2pm CT

    We have all witnessed the devastating effects Mother Nature can cause throughout the year. As we look ahead to Spring, now is the time to prepare for the threats posed by spring storms and floodwaters. Your organization is more than just a place of business to your customers, employees and stakeholders. Your organization is a key aspect of their lives, and one that must be protected. If your organization is affected by adverse weather conditions, how well will you be prepared to serve those who depend on you in their time of need?

    Join the SBA and co-sponsor Agility Recovery as we welcome Agility CEO Bob Boyd who will share practical, applicable tips and best practices to mitigate the risks posed by spring weather conditions.  These recommended steps and strategies are based on the thousands of successful business recoveries following weather disasters, including those related to flooding, tornadoes and severe storms. Registration Link: https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/191715953

    2014 InfraGard Minnesota Members Alliance Executive Board

    posted Feb 11, 2014, 11:11 AM by Erica Wirtz   [ updated Feb 11, 2014, 11:22 AM ]

     

    We are please to announce our 2014 InfraGard Minnesota Members Alliance Executive Board!
     
    Thank you to everyone who participated in the elections!
     
    Elizabeth Stevens - President
     
    Jerrod Montoya - Vice President
     
    Len Meger - Treasurer
     
    Executive Board Members
     
    Brian Isle
    Chris Terzich
    Erica Wirtz

    P2CAT

    posted Feb 4, 2014, 9:01 AM by Erica Wirtz

    Minnesota Homeland Security and Emergency Management (HSEM) and InfraGard Members Alliance in Minnesota partner to create the Public and Private Coordination and Action Team (P2CAT).
     
    Learn more:
     

    P2CAT

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