You are using an outdated browser. Please upgrade your browser to improve your experience.

National Severe Weather Preparedness Week March 3-9

Red Cross Safety Information Available For Different Emergencies

It’s National Severe Weather Preparedness Week and the American Red Cross urges everyone to Be a Force of Nature and know what actions you should take if severe weather threatens your community.

National Severe Weather Preparedness Week – March 3-9 - is a time set aside by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration (NOAA) and partners like the Red Cross, to emphasize the need for individuals, families, businesses, and nonprofits to get prepared and know what to do before severe weather strikes.

The current major winter storm has buried state after state in snow during the week officials are asking everyone to get prepared for severe weather. People can download the free Red Cross First Aid App to have information on winter storm safety, as well as what to do during an emergency until help arrives.

TORNADOES CAN STRIKE ANYWHERE Over the years, tornadoes have been reported in every state in the country. They are more common in the Plains states. These powerful events are capable of destroying well-made structures, uprooting trees, and hurling objects through the air like missiles. 

There were 936 tornadoes reported in 2012; 206 in April alone. These storms caused more than 450 weather-related fatalities and nearly 2,600 injuries. Damages amounted to an estimated $1.6 billion.

During National Severe Weather Preparedness Week, participating organizations urge everyone to know what severe weather hazards are possible in their community and to take actions to be prepared should a storm occur. Everyone – individuals, businesses, schools – should take actions to get ready in the event of a severe weather disaster.

BE PREPARED The Red Cross reminds everyone that it is important to prepare for possible disasters and other emergencies which can strike suddenly, at any time, anywhere. Being prepared begins long before severe weather threatens. The Red Cross urges everyone to take three important steps to get prepared:

  • Get a kit. Build an easy-to-carry emergency preparedness kit that you can use at home or take with you in case you have to evacuate. Include items such as water, non-perishable food, a flashlight and extra batteries, a battery-powered radio, first aid kit, and medications.
  • Make a plan. Talk with members of your household about what to do during emergencies. Plan what to do in case everyone is separated, and choose two places to meet—one right outside the home, in case of a sudden emergency such as a fire, and another outside the neighborhood, in case you cannot return home or are asked to evacuate
  • Be informed. Know what kinds of emergency situations may occur where you live, where you work, and where you go to school. Get trained in First Aid and CPR/AED so you’ll know what to do in an emergency if help is delayed.
  • DOWNLOAD RED CROSS APPS Another step people can take is to download the free Red Cross Apps for mobile devices (iPhones, iPads and Android smart phones and tablets) and have real-time safety information at their fingertips for emergencies like hurricanes, wildfires and earthquakes. The new Tornado App gives users instant access to information on what to do before, during and after tornadoes. Users receive real-time NOAA tornado watch and warning alerts – whether it’s in the community where they live or places where their loved ones live. There are also apps available with first aid information and to help someone find a Red Cross shelter. The apps can be found in the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store for Android by searching for American Red Cross.

    As everyone learns what natural disasters may occur in their community, the Red Cross has specific information available on steps they can take to remain safe in different situations. The Red Cross also conducts several programs to help people be prepared. Ready Rating™ is a free, web-based program designed to help businesses, organizations and schools become better prepared for emergencies. Members complete a self assessment of their current readiness level and receive immediate, customized feedback with resources to improve their scores. First Aid Emergency Drills help businesses train their staff for emergencies and disasters. The “Ready When the Time Comes” program trains employees from corporations and mobilizes them as a community-based volunteer force when disaster strikes. “Be Red Cross Ready” is a web-based, interactive training program that teaches people how to be ready for emergencies. This tutorial includes a video featuring Jamie Lee Curtis showing people how to customize their emergency kits.

    If a disaster does strike, the Red Cross will be there to provide help and relief. Every day, we empower people to prepare for life’s emergencies.

    About the American Red Cross:
    The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies 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 or, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.