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Becoming a force of nature

PRINCETON — It’s time for Bureau County residents to “be a force of nature” and get ready for Severe Weather Preparedness Week.

Bureau County ESDA Coordinator Kris Donarski has announced the theme for Severe Weather Preparedness Week, March 3-9, is “Be A Force of Nature”. Co-sponsoring the annual observance are the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

To become a force of nature when it comes to the weather, the sponsors are asking people to not only to be prepared themselves, but also to encourage their friends, extended families, and co-workers to be prepared as well, Donarski said.

During Severe Weather Preparedness Week, NOAA and FEMA are highlighting the importance of planning and practicing how and where to take shelter before severe weather strikes, Donarski said.

“Being prepared to act quickly can be a matter of life and death,” Donarski said. “Being a force of nature goes beyond taking appropriate preparedness action. It’s about inspiring others to do the same. We’re asking people not only to be prepared, but also to encourage their social network to act by texting, tweeting, or posting a Facebook status update.”

Donarski said it’s important for people to review severe weather preparedness information each year and to not take safety for granted.

“I think that severe weather can sometimes catch us off guard as we transition from winter weather conditions to severe thunderstorms and tornadoes. Also, we may have residents new to our area who are not familiar with the severe weather terminology,” Donarski said. “Then there are also the people in our community who have relocated to a different home or apartment and may not have developed their emergency plan of where to go when severe weather threatens.”

On Thursday, Bureau County Red Cross director Lori Compton also commented on the importance of people being proactive when it comes to dealing with the potential of severe weather in Bureau County. People should have disaster preparedness kits prepared, including necessary items like bottled water, non-perishable food items, a battery-operated NOAA radio, first aid kit, medications, and family and emergency contact information. The American Red Cross does have emergency kits available for individuals and families, she said.

The important thing is for people to plan ahead, get their emergency kit supplies on hand, and to take seriously the potential of severe weather happening they live, Compton said.

Additional safety information is available through various websites, including the Illinois Emergency Management Association (IEMA) web page, the American Red Cross and National Weather Service.

Comment on this story at www.bcrnews.com.

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