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Features : Editorial Last Updated: May 29, 2013 - 9:24:17 AM

Hurricane preparedness: Lessons to learn from Oklahoma
By Major P. May FEMA Region IV Administrator
May 29, 2013 - 9:23:26 AM

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On May 20, we were reminded that natural disasters of all kinds can bring devastation on a massive scale. In just a few seconds, the lives of Moore, Okla. residents were changed by an EF5 tornado that destroyed entire buildings while injuring or killing residents as they took shelter.
We can’t prevent natural disasters, but we can prepare for them. By being ready and knowing what to do in a disaster, we can minimize risk, reduce the time it takes to recover and most importantly, prevent the loss of life.
As response and recovery continues in Oklahoma, those of us who live in hurricane-prone areas must now turn our attention to our own preparedness efforts for the upcoming 2013 hurricane season.
This year during National Hurricane Preparedness Week, May 26 - June 1, and throughout the year, I encourage everyone in hurricane-prone areas to make a pledge to prepare and then act on the pledge and be ready in advance of the hurricane season that officially begins June 1.
We are asking you to take these simple steps:  know and understand your weather risk, take action, and be an example for your family, friends and neighbors.
Know your risk--understand how hurricanes and tropical storms can directly affect you and your family where you live, work and go to school whether you live on the coast or inland. Check the weather forecast regularly, sign up for local alerts from emergency management officials, and get and use a NOAA weather radio.
Take action now--complete your Ready Emergency Preparedness Plan, update your Emergency Supply Kit, and download the FEMA smartphone application to access important safety tips on what to do before, during and after a hurricane.
Be an example--Encourage your family, friends, colleagues, and neighbors to prepare and inspire others by posting your preparedness story on your Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter accounts.  Post the Hurricane Widget on your social media profiles. Follow us at Twitter and share our Hurricane Preparedness Week tweets.
Join us today and pledge to prepare at
FEMA's mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.

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