LINCOLN, Neb. -- Nebraskans have experience with serious weather events. Many families and individuals are prepared with emergency supply kits and NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) weather radios. Others may have or are considering Safe Rooms to protect themselves against tornadoes and high winds.
Nebraska Emergency Management Agency and Federal Emergency Management Agency officials say being prepared and investing in preventive measures are a few of the proven ways to reduce the impact of the next disaster. The FEMA websites www.fema.gov and www.floodsmart.gov provide a wealth of information that can be added to the brief look below, and offer advice on how to prepare for weather events that threaten Nebraskans year after year:
- Make sure your home is properly insulated; this conserves electricity and reduces power demands for air conditioning.
- Install window air conditioners snugly; insulate spaces around them.
- Keep cool air inside by weather-stripping doors and windows.
- Hang shades, drapes, awnings or louvers on windows that receive sun. Awnings and louvers reduce heat entering the house by as much as 80 percent.
- Tornadoes create wind and rain-driven impact similar to that of hurricanes. Install shutters and strengthen masonry to minimize the effects of tornadoes.
- Check local building codes and ordinances for safety requirements, such as the use of wind-resistant building design.???????????
Thunderstorms and Lightning
- Install lightning rods. Lightning rods will carry the electrical charge of lightning bolts safely to the ground, greatly reducing the chance of a lightning-induced fire.
- Insure crops against financial loss from storm damage through the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
- Trim back dead or weak branches from trees.?
Floods and Flash Floods
- Ask your insurance agent about the National Flood Insurance Program. Homeowners' policies do not cover flood damage.
- Avoid building in a flood plain unless you elevate and reinforce your home.
- Seal walls in basement with waterproofing compounds to avoid seepage through cracks in the walls.
- Purchase flood insurance to cover possible flood damage that may occur during the spring thaw.
- Install storm windows or cover windows with plastic from the inside.
- Install snow fences in rural areas to reduce drifting in roads and paths.
Storms, tornadoes and flooding in Nebraska from May 22 - June 24 brought about a federal disaster declaration. There is still time to register for disaster aid if you had disaster-related losses and you live, work, or own a business in one of the counties designated under the declaration. Call FEMA?s toll-free teleregistration number 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) to find out more. People with hearing or speech impairments can call (TTY) 1-800-462-7585. The deadline to register is August 19, 2008.
The designated counties are Buffalo, Butler, Colfax, Custer, Dawson, Douglas, Gage, Hamilton, Holt, Jefferson, Kearney, Lancaster, Platte, Richardson, Sarpy and Saunders.
FEMA coordinates the federal government's role in preparing for, preventing, mitigating the effects of, responding to, and recovering from all domestic disasters, whether natural or man-made, including acts of terror.