Wisconsin’s Tornado and Severe Weather Week – April 21-25

It’s not a nursery rhyme, Mother Nature can huff and puff to blow your house down. In fact, Wisconsin averages 23 tornadoes annually!  Last year, 16 tornadoes were reported, in Wisconsin, by the National Weather Service, including six during the night of August 6, 2013. The strongest tornado, rated an EF2, hit near New London in Waupaca and Outagamie Counties and required a significant response for our Disaster Action Teams.

To help everyone refresh their tornado awareness, the National Weather Service will test our knowledge on Thursday, April 24th.

  • At 1:00p.m. they will issue a mock tornado watch for the entire state. A ‘tornado watch’ means tornadoes are possible. Residents in the watch area should remain alert for approaching storms.
  • At 1:45p.m., they will issue a mock tornado warning. A ‘tornado warning’ means a tornado has been sighted or indicated on weather radar. Residents should move to a safe place immediately.
  • The tornado drill will end at 2:00p.m.

The National Weather Service will conduct the drill even if the sky is cloudy, dark or rainy. If actual severe storms are expected, anywhere, in the state, the tornado drill will be postponed until Friday, April 25 at the same times. If severe storms are possible Friday, the drill will be cancelled. To help refresh your memory of safest places to be, what watch & warnings mean, emergency kit items to have and even audible alerts for where you live, please download the FREE Tornado APP.

Let us know how you have prepared during the week and we will let you know the results of the tornado drills, at our offices, too!

Are You Ready for Winter?

Tips provided by: Wisconsin Emergency Management

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“Get an emergency kit in your car. It could save your life”

Governor Scott Walker has declared November 4-8, 2013 as Winter Awareness Week in Wisconsin.  The annual campaign, sponsored by Wisconsin Emergency Management (WEM), its ReadyWisconsin preparedness program and NOAA’s National Weather Service (NWS), is to remind people to be prepared for winter conditions that could threaten their safety.

“The number one thing to do: make sure you have an emergency supply kit in your car – it could save your life,” says Brian Satula, Wisconsin Emergency Management Administrator

winter_car_kitReadyWisconsin will air Television and Radio Public Service Announcements in November, urging viewers and listeners to keep an emergency kit in their vehicles. Starting November 1st, Wisconsin residents can sign up for a chance to win a winter survival kit on the ReadyWisconsin website: readywisconsin.wi.gov.

Winter storms are considered deceptive killers because most deaths are indirectly related to the storm. For example, in the last five years Wisconsin has averaged 50,000 motor vehicle crashes during winter months. An average of 45 people are killed and more than 5,000 injured on icy or snow-covered roads.

Carbon monoxide poisoning is also a danger. According to the Centers for Disease Control, carbon monoxide is the leading cause of accidental poisoning deaths in the United States, with more than 20,000 people visiting the emergency room and nearly 500 killed each year from overexposure to the gas.

Now is the time to winterize your car and home, gather items for an emergency kit in your car, and make sure you have a NOAA Weather Radio with fresh batteries. Additional winter weather tips and how to put together a winter emergency kit are available at the ReadyWisconsin website. or www.redcross.org  In addition, there are numerous winter storm maps and a history of Wisconsin’s winter weather produced by the National Weather Service.

Staying Safe in Wisconsin Summer Heat

Today is Wisconsin Heat Awareness Day, a fitting title as temperatures climb into the mid-80s in the coming days. With heat and humidity comes high risk for weather-related deaths, especially among children and the elderly.

Wisconsin Emergency Management and the National Weather Service outline important steps to take to ensure your safety in the summer months. In 2011, five people in Wisconsin died of excessive heat and more than 100 were treated for heat-related symptoms.

As Northeast Wisconsin sweats it out for the coming months, here are a few tips to keep you and your family safe this summer:

  • Drink up—Staying hydrated is key to warding off heat-related health emergencies. Drink fluids even if you don’t feel thirsty and avoid alcohol and caffeine, which dehydrate the body.
  • Dress for the weather and wear light, loose-fitting clothing. Carry a hat or umbrella if possible.
  • Check up on friends and neighbors who don’t have air conditioning, especially if they are elderly. Find places to go during the day for relief such as schools, libraries or the mall if you don’t have air conditioning at home.
  • Avoid work outdoors if possible and take frequent breaks if you must be outside. Take a cool shower or bath when you come in from working outside or if you feel overheated.
  • Eat small meals more often to ensure you are getting proper nutrition along with hydration.  
  • Call 9-1-1 if someone is showing signs of heat stroke, which include hot, red skin, changes in consciousness, vomiting and high body temperature. Heat cramps are muscular pains that often signal the start of heat-related health problems. If someone has these symptoms, call 9-1-1 and move them into a cool place.

Wisconsin offers a multitude of options for fun this summer, and staying cool will help us all enjoy them safely. For more information on heat safety, please visit redcross.org