Kansas City, MO -- As Missouri holds its annual Severe Weather Awareness Week, March 12-16, the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) Project Impact: Building Disaster Resistant Communities initiative is encouraging residents to take preventive measures now to reduce the risk of severe weather damage.
"Severe weather has the potential to inflict costly damages to our homes and our businesses," said Art Freeman, Acting Regional Director for FEMA Region VII. "But there are actions you can take to lessen the damage when disaster strikes."
Severe storms that can produce heavy snows, flooding, high winds and even tornadoes are the most common weather threats in late winter and early spring. To protect yourself and your home from the dangers associated with the various types of severe weather, Project Impact recommends doing the following before severe storms strike:
- Reinforcing garage doors to withstand high winds.
- Securely anchoring manufactured homes to concrete
- Installing backflow valves in waste lines to prevent
- Removing old shingles and adding more nails to roof
- Elevating utilities such as fuse boxes, heating and
ventilating equipment above known flood levels.
- Building a safe room.
Professional contractors should be retained for major projects and those requiring electrical or plumbing expertise. Preventive actions can range in cost from a few dollars to a few thousand, but every dollar spent can make a difference in protecting a home from disaster.
In 2000, 45 national major disasters were declared, inflicting more than $3.3 billion in damage to homes and businesses across the country. According to the National Weather Service, severe weather caused $125.3 million dollars in property damage in Missouri alone.
"In communities across the country, Project Impact is helping businesses and residents shift their focus from simply responding to disasters to taking actions in advance to stop devastating property damage and loss of life," said Jerry Uhlmann, director of the Missouri State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA). "It is time to take preventive action."
The eight communities in Missouri currently participating in the Project Impact initiative have already taken actions to protect residents from the devastating effects of disasters, including:
- The city of St. Joseph and KQTV have produced a series
of emergency management educational videos and distributed them to schools,
libraries, fire stations, the American Red Cross and private video stores
in St. Joseph to teach the public how to prepare, respond and recover
from natural disasters; and
- Bolivar's Emergency Management Agency has been working with NOAA's representative in Springfield, Mo., the American Red Cross, Wal-Mart, Radio Shack and Empire Gas to raise funds to buy weather alert radios for schools and to initiate a major public relations program ...