Severe weather can occur in any month in Mississippi and can include thunderstorms, tornadoes and flooding. According to the National Weather Service, 42 Mississippians were killed and nearly 300 were injured during severe weather outbreaks in 2011.
February 4-8 has been set aside by Governor Phil Bryant to remind every Mississippian that they should have a method for receiving severe weather warnings. “With the Governor declaring this preparedness week; it helps bring awareness so families can prepare for severe weather. Together we can make our families safer and our communities stronger,” said Sandra Hodge, Red Cross Mississippi Region CEO. “We can help you and your family create a disaster preparedness plan now, before our community is threatened by high winds, hail, lightning and excessive rainfall.”
As with any disaster, preparation can be the difference between life and death. The Red Cross recommends that individuals and families prepare for severe weather.
•Make a Home Disaster Plan: Pick a safe place in your home for household members to gather during severe weather. This should be away from windows, skylights and glass doors that could be broken by strong winds or hail. Protect your animals by ensuring that any outside buildings that house them are protected in the same way as your home. Remove animals from vulnerable dog houses and similar small structures.
•Create an Emergency Preparedness Kit: Pack a first aid kit and essential medications, canned food and can opener, bottled water, flashlights and a battery-powered radio with extra batteries.
•Heed Storm Warnings: A severe storm WATCH means severe weather is possible in and near the watch area. People in a watch area should keep informed and be ready to act if a severe thunderstorm or tornado warning is issued. A severe storm WARNING means severe weather has been reported by spotters or indicated by radar. Warnings indicate imminent danger to life and property. If you can hear thunder, you are close enough to be in danger from lightning. Seek shelter immediately. The National Weather Service recommends staying inside for at least 30 minutes after the last thunder clap.
•Prepare for High Winds: If you have time, secure lawn furniture, outdoor decorations, trash cans, hanging plants and anything else that can be picked up by wind.
For more information on severe weather preparedness, contact your local Red Cross Chapter, visit www.mississippi-redcross.org or call 1-800 RED CROSS. We urge you to share these Red Cross severe weather preparedness tips with every member of your household, because the best protection is to be prepared ahead of time.
About the American Red Cross Mississippi Region:
The American Red Cross Mississippi Region shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters, supports the supply of about 40 percent of the nation's blood, teaches skills that save lives, provides international humanitarian aid and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit www.mississippi-redcross.org , like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter @RedCrossMiss.