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Kicking Off National Severe Weather Preparedness Week

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Today marks the beginning of the first ever National Severe Weather Preparedness Week. This week, we’re partnering with NOAA to provide information to the public about the hazards of severe weather and steps people can take to ensure they’re prepared.

Every year, thousands of people are impacted by severe weather threats such as tornadoes and severe thunderstorms. Last year was the most active year in disasters in recent history, with more than 1,000 weather related fatalities, more than 8,000 injuries.

Every state in the U.S. has experienced tornadoes and severe weather and although some more than others- everyone is at risk and should take steps to prepare for when severe weather strike in your area. Knowing the most common weather hazards in your area, your vulnerability and what actions you should take can save your life and others.

All week long, we’re calling for people across the country to pledge to prepare and to be a force of nature in your community by telling your family, friends and neighbors how you prepared for severe weather. By pledging, you’re taking the first step in making sure you and your loved ones are prepared for severe weather by developing a family communication plan, putting together an emergency kit and getting involved.

We’re asking everyone to be a force of nature by knowing their risk, taking action and becoming an example by sharing what you have done with your family, friends, neighbors and others. I recorded this short video that you can embed on your website to be a force of nature by sharing it with your website visitors.

Visit to pledge, and once you’ve made your pledge, be a force of nature and share your story on your social media accounts and encourage others to pledge to prepare.

If you’re on Twitter, use the hashtag #imprepared and #imaforce to show you’ve pledged and taken steps to get prepared.

Here is the President’s message encouraging the nation to be prepared:
Over the past year, devastating storms have tested the fabric of our Nation. From Tuscaloosa to Joplin, the Midwest to Appalachia, tornadoes have leveled communities and left profound suffering in their wake. Thousands of Americans have endured the pain of loss – loss of a home, a job, a dream, a loved one dearly held and forever missed. Yet, as winds have died and rains eased, communities have banded together and demonstrated a simple truth: that amid heartbreak and hardship, no one is a stranger.

During National Severe Weather Preparedness Week and throughout the year, we renew our promise to meet a national tragedy with a national response. To help save lives, my Administration is partnering with communities across America to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards, including severe weather. We are working to improve the accuracy of tornado and severe thunderstorm warnings, giving individuals more time to get out of harm’s way. And with leadership from agencies across my Administration, we are collaborating with organizations at every level of government and throughout the private and non-profit sectors to strengthen preparedness and build resilience.

Our Nation continues to bear the impact of severe storms. When tornadoes swept across southern States and the Midwest earlier this year, we were touched by the echoes of hardship. Many Americans lost their homes and businesses; dozens lost their lives. As we reflect on these tragic outcomes, let us recommit to doing everything we can to protect our families and our communities. I encourage all Americans to prepare an emergency plan and build an emergency kit with food, water, and essential supplies in case of severe weather. When strong storms are approaching, it is critical that individuals and families take action to secure their safety and the safety of those around them. During a tornado warning, find shelter immediately and await instructions from local emergency management officials.

This week, we rededicate ourselves to strengthening personal and community preparedness before disaster strikes. To learn more about how to minimize risk before, during, and after tornadoes and severe thunderstorms, visit and

–Barack Obama
Last Updated: 
06/16/2012 - 12:44

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