Ohio is known for tornadoes and has about 30 of them a year. Every year, the state puts aside a week in the spring that is dedicated to teaching residents how to stay safe during severe weather such as tornadoes or thunderstorms. This year Ohio is holding the week from March 2 to 8. A statewide tornado drill was held on Wednesday at 9 a.m. when sirens blared outside to warn residents of an incoming tornado. The drill was meant to urge residents to practice their emergency safety plan and test the Emergency Alert System that is broadcast on televisions. John Fawcett, the municipal administrator for Bowling Green, Ohio, said that the sirens are there to remind people who are outside their homes to find shelter. Fawcett continues by saying that since many cities in the area including Bowling Green do not have a shelter for weather emergencies, people should try to find an indoor location that does not have windows, glass or doors. Ohio is not the only state to bring awareness to severe weather since Georgia and North Carolina also have their own severe weather awareness week.
North Carolina is holding their awareness week during the same time Ohio is having theirs. North Carolina’s awareness week also corresponds with the National Severe Weather Preparedness Week, which is sponsored by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association known as NOAA and Federal Emergency Management Agency known as FEMA. The National Weather Service in Raleigh will be telling residents how they can Be a Force of Nature by preparing for severe weather threats.Each day the National Weather Service will be highlighting ways people can Be a Force of Nature by taking action, serving as an example and knowing the risks. The week is meant to increase an individual’s awareness of severe weather and motivate families, communities, businesses and individuals to take action so they are prepared when severe weather strikes. Nick Petro, the Warning Coordination Meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Raleigh, said the service is committed to ensuring the safety of their community and that residents can play an important role. He continues by saying that when people take a couple of steps now they can be better prepared and help save lives.
The Be a Force of Nature campaign follows three components: know your risk, pledge and take action and be an example. Know your risk means that people should know what the hazards are where they work and live. They should also know how the weather can impact them and their family. Pledge means that people should take the Pledge to Prepare at the website for the national public service campaign called Ready. When people take the pledge, they are taking the first step in making sure everyone in their family including themselves are ready for severe weather.
When people take action it means they are getting involved, putting together an emergency kit. keeping important papers and other valuables in a secure palace, having many sources for weather alerts and filling out their families communication plan. The final component is to be an example, which means people should share their preparedness stories with their family and friends through the creation of a YouTube video, commenting on a blog, posting their story on Facebook or tweeting their story on Twitter.
Georgia held their Severe Weather Awareness Week during the first week of February, from February 4 to February 7. Unlike Ohio and North Caroline, Georgia decided to bring awareness to important weather emergencies by designating each day of the week to a different type of weather. The first day was Family Preparedness and NOAA Weather Radio Day. That day was meant to encourage people to fill out their weather communication plan and program their NOAA Weather Radios. The second day, Tuesday, focused on thunderstorm safety, the topic for Thursday was lightning safety and Friday was dedicated to flood safety.
On Wednesday, the topic was tornado safety and the state was supposed to have their tornado drill. However, the drill did not happen and was moved to Friday. The drill was held at 9 a.m. and then again at 9:30 a.m. People could also visit an interactive website that provided information on how to prepare for a weather emergency. The website let residents create a personal profile that was used to create a personalized checklist and a family communication plan. A guide for businesses was also created for employers called Ready Georgia. Children could visit ReadyKids to get age-appropriate information on staying safe during weather emergencies.
Severe Weather Awareness Week is not only held in the state of Ohio but also in North Carolina and Georgia. Ohio and North Carolina held their awareness week during the beginning of March. All three states held a tornado practice drill and used to week to bring up the importance of being prepared to handle weather emergencies. Georgia split up their week by dedicating each day to a different type of weather. If people want to stay safe during the spring and summer months they should watch the sky for thunderstorms, go inside when they hear thunder, watch for flash flooding and look out for tornadoes.
By Jordan Bonte