Gov. Edwards proclaims March 6-10 as Severe Weather Awareness Week

BATON ROUGE, La. - Governor John Bel Edwards has proclaimed this week as “Severe Weather Awareness Week” in Louisiana.

The Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, the National Weather Service and other local partners encourage the public to Get A Game Plan to protect themselves, their families, their pets, their homes and their businesses in the event of severe weather.
GOHSEP Director James Waskom said, “Severe weather can impact the state at any point during the year. Many recent severe weather events also included little notice. It is extremely important to finalize your game plan now, before you face an emergency.  As we continue the tremendous recovery process from the March and August 2016 flood events, along with a February tornado outbreak, many of you are still living in temporary housing situations like recreational vehicles or Federal Emergency Management Agency manufactured housing units. Understand any new threats you face due to that arrangement”

Waskom added, “Forecasting has improved, but there are still times when dangerous conditions develop quickly. Take advantage of our new Get A Game Plan App and the ALERT FM App to receive emergency weather alerts and prepare for severe weather.  GOHSEP will be using social media to share important information from the NWS Shreveport, NWS Lake Charles, NWS Jackson and the NWS New Orleans/Baton Rouge during Severe Weather Awareness Week.  These four offices cover different regions of Louisiana.  Learn more about our NWS partners on their websites and on their social media accounts.”
FEMA offers these safety tips if you are living in an MHU:
•           Prepare a disaster kit.  The kit should include enough food, water and supplies to last three days.
•           Elevate important items in case of flooding.
•           All FEMA units come equipped with weather radios, so it is important to listen for warnings.
•           Follow the guidance of local officials.  Floods may affect access to and from MHU’s, so survivors should pay attention for evacuation orders.
Survivors who have weather-related issues with their MHU should contact the maintenance hotline at 800-335-8546.
Meteorologist-in-Charge National Weather Service Ken Graham said, "It is important to have a severe weather plan and practice it well before any weather warning.  When our meteorologists at the National Weather Service issue a warning, it is time for action because every second counts.
Remember a WATCH means conditions are favorable for severe weather or flooding.  A WARNING is when we detect on radar or get a report of dangerous weather." 
Families and individuals should have an emergency plan that outlines what they will do if they have to shelter in place because of severe weather and what they will do if they have to evacuate during severe weather.

Sheltering in place means going indoors, closing all windows and doors and staying put until the severe weather has passed and the all clear has been given by your local government.

You can get safety information from your local government through the local media, on a battery operated radio or through your parish’s alert system.

Evacuating requires that individuals and families have a plan for where they will go if their homes are unsafe.
Identify several friends, family members or others that you can stay with during an evacuation. Remember: when severe weather hits, your original evacuation place may not be available, so you should have a backup plan.
An important part of every family or person’s severe weather plan is packing an emergency kit that includes the items they will need in case they have to shelter in place or evacuate because of severe weather.

This kit should include, among other supplies: flashlights, extra batteries, a battery-powered radio and lantern, a first aid kit, canned food and a non-electric can opener, special medical items for any members of the family with special needs, high energy foods like peanut butter and jelly, crackers and granola bars, a utility knife, plastic sheeting, protective clothing and rainwear, a change of clothes for each family member and at least three gallons of water per person and pet.
Gathering supplies in one place will help families locate them in the event of a power outage. If a family must leave its home, the kit can go with them.
ONLINE RESOURCES: Louisiana residents can take simple steps to protect themselves, their families, their pets and their homes. GOHSEP provides detailed tips and information for how to respond in the event of a tornado, flooding, thunderstorm, hurricane or other severe weather. the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) provides detailed, zip code level weather information for the public on its Website.
Users can get information about severe weather warnings and alerts and also view forecasts from National Weather Service staff. the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) outlines what to do in many disaster scenarios on its preparedness site.
ALERT FM App:  a free App that allows GOHSEP to create and send digital alerts and messages based on geographic or organizational groups.  Messages are delivered to the data subcarrier of existing FM transmitters around the US.  Overlapping signals of FM stations ensure rapid message transmission even when other communication systems are disrupted.
Get A Game Plan App: a free App that allows Louisiana residents to access emergency information and get prepared prior to an emergency. Users can prepare customized emergency plans, review the Louisiana Emergency Preparedness Guide, get up-to-date evacuation information, and set up an, “I’m Safe” tab to update your emergency contacts.

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