Get Ready for FEMA's PrepareAthon

ARKANSAS - April 30th marks the beginning of FEMA's national campaign called PrepareAthon. The timing couldn't be any better. We have seen over the last few days that knowing how to stay safe from bad weather is nothing to take lightly. With weeks of severe weather season that lie ahead, we can use calm days like today to prepare for future natural disasters.

We live in a part of the country that's highly susceptible to severe weather. "These recent tornadoes have put the idea of preparedness fresh in everyone's minds. It's gotten people to think, 'Hey, what would I have done if I were in these towns?' comments Mark Burchfield, Training and Exercise Specialist and Meteorologist with Springfield-Greene County Emergency Management.

This week's storm system stretched from the Midwest to the east coast. It spawned at least 41 tornadoes in over 10 states. It took the lives of 35 people. We can reduce this number in future events by preparing now.

"It shows you the power of storms and how really great it is that we can spend a little bit of time on a calm day and seize that opportunity to think about what we'll do when time may be short and we have to respond quickly to protect our loved ones," says Mike O'Connell with the State Emergency Management Agency.

Burchfield tells us three things we can do in observance of 'Prepareathon.' First, stay informed of weather and news on a daily basis. "Are you paying attention to the weather a few days out? Do you know what hazards are in your home and in your community?" says Burchfield.

Second, get a plan. "Whether it's a plan for your household, where are you going to go, exactly for an event? Or maybe your in your car on a trip. What are you going to do in that case? Or at school or at work?" says Burchfield.

And three, prepare an emergency kit. "You kind of want to think 'What do I need to survive within the next 24 hours or so?'" adds Burchfield.

FEMA's Preparathon website is a great place to go today. Here you can build a kit suited to your individual needs. Click here for a link to learn more.

As broadcasters sometimes we have to interrupt your programming for severe weather. It is our obligation to keep all of our viewers informed of emergency situations in order to save lives.

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