Be a Force of Nature(Riverton, Wyo.) – The National Weather Service office in Riverton is promoting National Severe Weather Preparedness Week March 3-9, 2013. During this week members of the community are being asked to “Be a Force of Nature” and better prepare for severe weather threats in western and central Wyoming.

Sponsored by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), National Severe Weather Preparedness Week is a nationwide effort to increase awareness of severe weather and to motivate individuals, families, businesses, and communities to take actions that will prepare them in the event of severe weather.

Each year, people are killed or seriously injured by flash floods and other types of severe weather, despite advance warning. In Wyoming two of the more prominent hazards are wildfires and lightning. This past year there were more than 450 weather-related fatalities and nearly 2,600 injuries nationwide. Severe weather knows no boundaries and affects every individual.

“Weather is an important part of daily life in Wyoming and our agency is committed to ensuring the safety of our communities. What can be forgotten is that each individual plays an important role in this process, too,” said Chris Jones, Warning Coordination Meteorologist at the Riverton office. “By taking a few steps now you can be better prepared and assist in saving lives.”

The first step to becoming weather-ready is to understand the type of hazardous weather that can affect where you live and work, and how the weather could impact your family. Check the weather forecast regularly at weather.gov/riverton and visit ready.gov/severe-weather to learn more about how to be better prepared and how to better protect your family in emergencies.

NWSBe a Force of Nature by taking the Pledge to Prepare at ready.gov/severe-weather. When you pledge to prepare, you will take the first step to making sure that you and your family are prepared for severe weather. This includes filling out your family communications plan that you can email to yourself, putting an emergency kit together, keeping important papers and valuables in a safe place, and getting involved.

Stay informed by having multiple sources for weather alerts. Obtain a NOAA Weather Radio and check to see if your cell phone is equipped to receive Wireless Emergency Alerts. Some communities also have localized automated alerts from emergency management officials that you can sign-up for.

Once you have taken action, share your story with your family and friends. Create a YouTube video, post your story on Facebook, comment on a blog, or send a tweet. Studies show that many people use social media in the event of a disaster to let relatives and friends know they are safe. This is an important trend because people are most likely to take preparedness steps if they observe the preparations taken by others. Social media provides the perfect platform to demonstrate preparedness actions for others.

More information and ideas on how you can Be a Force of Nature can be found at ready.gov/ severe-weather. Information on the different types of severe weather such as tornadoes, severe thunderstorms, and flooding is available at www.weather.gov and ready.gov/severe-weather or the Spanish-language web site www.listo.gov.