National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce
Date Posted: April 24, 2012

When severe weather strikes, the difference between life and death can be summed up in as little as two words: Be prepared. Making a plan for what you and your family will do when severe weather strikes is an important step in being prepared and building a Weather-Ready Nation.

As part of National Severe Weather Preparedness Week, NOAA and FEMA are urging people to “Pledge to Prepare.” When you Pledge to Prepare, you will take the first step to making sure that you and your family are prepared for severe weather.  These include developing a family communications plan, putting an emergency kit together, keeping important papers and valuables in a safe place, and getting involved.

While there are basic elements that should be a part of any plan, it’s important to also tailor your plan to the individual needs of you or your family. This is especially important for the elderly or those with disabilities or special medial or dietary needs.

As part of tailoring your plans, consider working with others to create networks of neighbors, relatives, friends and co-workers who will assist each other in an emergency. Discuss your needs and responsibilities and how people in the network can assist each other with communication, care of children, pets, or specific needs like the operation of durable medical equipment. Create your own personal network for specific areas where you need assistance.

Have your children go on a severe weather preparation adventure. They can learn how to protect themselves and how they can help their family stay safe. When children complete the game, they receive a Young Meteorologist certificate. The game is part of Plan!t Now’s Young Meteorologist Program which was created in cooperation with an NWS partner, the National Education Association.

When you create a plan and help others do the same, you become a force of nature that can be as powerful at saving lives as violent weather can be at taking them.

For more information on how you can participate this week and increase both your and your community’s preparedness check out A digital toolkit for the week is available here.