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Citizens urged to prepare for severe weather

Unicoi County Emergency Management is encouraging citizens to be prepared for severe weather and “Be a Force of Nature.”
According to information from the department, it will be observing Severe Weather Awareness Week, which is set for Feb. 16-20, in conjunction with the National Weather Service. The week is promoted by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
The goal of the week is to warn of all the possible dangers from flooding, lightning, severe thunderstorms, wind, hail and tornadoes. The week is also designed to encourage individuals, families, businesses and communities to know the risks, take action and set an example for others.
According to the department, in 2011 there were more than 1,000 weather-related fatalities and more than 8,000 injuries, despite advance warning.
Citizens are encouraged to “Be a Force of Nature” by taking steps to prepare for severe weather. These steps include knowing the risks associated with the type of hazardous weather that can affect where you live and work. The department recommends regularly checking the weather forecast or obtaining an NOAA Weather Radio. Citizens should also make a shelter plan that includes all types of local weather hazards.
Another step is taking a pledge to prepare at Ready.gov/severe-weather. This includes developing a plan with your family establishing how you communicate in the event of severe weather. Citizens are also advised to build an emergency kit, which includes important papers and valuables, and store it in a safe place.
Once developing a plan and making preparations, the department encourages you to share your story with family and friends by using social media.
Unicoi County Emergency Management asks citizens to share any awareness activities you have conducted at 743-1850, 534-4412 or [email protected]
More information and ideas on how you can “Be a Force of Nature” can be found at www.Ready.gov/severeweather. Information on the different types of severe weather such as tornadoes, severe thunderstorms and flooding is available at www.weather.gov and www.ready.gov/severeweather or the Spanish-language website, www.listo.gov.
The Tennessee Emergency Management Agency (TEMA) has established a link on their website (tnema.org) that allows installation of their application on media devices. This application offers general information on disaster management and a connection to the Tennessee Department of Transportation and the National Weather Service for highway and weather information.