On Tuesday, March 12, 2013. Virginia recognized Tornado Preparedness Day by having schools and companies do tornado drills at 9:45 am. The previous week, March 3 -9th, the nation recognized National Severe Storm Preparedness Week. This is due to the months of March through May being the most likely time for tornadoes to occur. Over the past 10 years, there have been five tornadoes in Central Virginia, and another three in other areas of the state. With an average of 1 every two years, tornadoes frequent Central Virginia more than hurricanes. It’s no wonder that at the very time of the tornado drill, heavy rain outbursts proposed concerns over severe weather threats. This is the latest information on how to prepare for a tornado and additions to FEMA’s (Federal Emergency Management Agency) program.
Suggestions for tornado warnings are to not hide under any highway and if in a car, to kneel to the bottom of the car and cover yourself with your hands or preferably a blanket. It’s also safe hide in a ditch or hole that’s beneath the roadway and cover yourself with your hands. Of course the ideal situation is still a basement or lower level or newly built “safe rooms”. If that’s not possible, go to the interior room or hallway, away from windows. But always leave a mobile home to go to a safer shelter nearby.
Also, Hurricane Sandy’s effect on New Jersey has taught us that non-profit organizations are essential in the event of an emergency. FEMA is suggesting that when individuals and families are displaced during natural disasters, they are in need of medical, financial and even emotional attention. Will you need help for making payments on your accounts, or help finding a temporary place to stay, or finding daycare, or a job? Which type of businesses can you rely on to help with home repair? It’s good to become familiar with the non-profits available in the area, in case you need them. Find a complete list of agencies at ww.nonprofitlist.org/VirginiaNonProfits.html.
Secondly, for professionals or volunteers or those trying to become either, FEMA is offering an Independent Study Program. The program cover the recruitment and motivation of volunteers and how to work with community agencies, and professionals, local businesses and safety issues for those who give aid. The course includes a final examination, all at no charge. Contact www.training.fema.gov website for additional information.
The time is now if you can donate to these local organizations. Don’t wait until you need their help.