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National Preparedness Month Week Three is No-Cost, Low-Cost Preparedness

September is National Preparedness Month. The goal is to educate the country about the importance of preparing for disasters and emergencies that could happen at any time.

2021’s theme is “Prepare to Protect. Preparing for disasters is protecting everyone you love.”

Each week has a designated theme.

National Preparedness Month Week Three is “No-Cost, Low-Cost Preparedness.”

WEEK THREE IN NATIONAL PREPAREDNESS MONTH

National Preparedness Month Week Three focuses on, “Low-Cost, No-Cost Preparedness.”

Natural disasters like big storms and emergencies like fires can’t be planned. In some cases, there is little to no warning. That is why you shouldn’t wait to plan and prepare for them.

You can take the first step today by signing up for alerts, safe-guarding important documents, and taking other actions to lessen the impact of disasters and emergencies.

This also includes making sure you’re enrolled in programs like flood insurance before it’s too late.

To mark Week Three, Midland’s Meteorologist, Bruce Jones spoke with a Floodplain Management Section Manager from Missouri’s State Emergency Management Agency.

FLOODING AND PREPAREDNESS

Meteorologist Bruce Jones and Floodplain Management Section Manager, Karen McHugh, shared that as our cities grow and develop, the open land can no longer soak up rainwater. This has led to an increase in flooding across the country.

“In many areas, including the USA, the number of ‘extreme’ rainfall events is increasing.  Because hotter air can hold more water, warming global temperatures make extreme rain events more likely to happen.  For example, rainfall generated by the remnants of Hurricane Ida produced the heaviest downpour ever recorded in New York City’s Central Park. 3.15” of rain fell in just one hour.  That’s about a month’s worth of rain in sixty minutes.  Resultant flooding was catastrophic,” Jones said.

“The grassy, open land areas are pervious surfaces so when it rains, the water soaks into the grass. When the grass becomes saturated, it flows naturally into creeks and down into something like the Missouri River,” McHugh said.

The two said this is the way nature intended it to work.

“There are usually houses along these creeks. These people want convenience so they ask for a developer to come in and build a shopping center,” McHugh said.

The shopping center and parking lot replace the grassy, pervious surface. Shopping centers and parking lots are impervious surfaces. An impervious surface allows little or no storm water infiltration into the ground.

“When it rains, the water hits the surface and very quickly moves downstream. This creates a flooding event. Some of the houses in the area could be washed away,” McHugh said.

FLOOD INSURANCE

One way to prepare for these types of events is to make sure that you have flood insurance.

“We suggest that anyone that lives anywhere in a community that participates in the National Flood Insurance Program, they buy flood insurance,” McHugh said.

Floodplains have three sections including low-risk, moderate-risk, high-risk.

She even encourages people living in low-risk areas to get flood insurance as flood events get worse and become more frequent.

“Statistics say that from 2015 to 2019, 40% of flood insurance were from low-risk areas,” McHugh said.

Missouri’s State Emergency Management Agency tells people, “wherever it can rain, it can flood.”

“If you don’t have flood insurance and it’s a bad enough event with a lot of damage, there might be a Presidential Declaration. If there’s a Presidential Declaration, then those without flood insurance can probably take out an SBA (Small Business Association) loan, but that’s a loan you have to pay back,” McHugh said.

McHugh says to find out which risk area you live in, check with the local floodplain administrator. You can also find the flood insurance rate maps online.

The best way to protect yourself from flooding is to have flood insurance.

Ahead of any flooding events, it’s important you are signed up for the proper alerting systems to make sure you have as much notice as possible BEFORE the emergency.

SIGNING UP FOR ALERTS

Signing up for alerts only takes a few minutes and could make a big difference when there’s an emergency or disaster.

NOAA Weather Radio (NWR)

NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards is a nationwide network of radios stations broadcasting continuous weather information. This information comes from the nearest National Weather Service office based on your physical location.

  • NWR sends official warnings, watches, forecasts, and other hazard information 24/7.
  • NWR will also alert of non-weather emergencies such as national security or public safety threats
    • These come from the EAS

Midland Radio is proud to sell NOAA Weather Radio devices to keep you and your loved ones safe.

Check out our WR120 NOAA Weather Alert Radio. This is the gold standard of NOAA Weather Radios. The WR120 features S.A.M.E. EZ localized programming. It will alert you to over 60 kinds of weather hazards and emergencies. This device gives you the time necessary to seek shelter or respond to severe weather or an emergency.

Many of Midland Radio’s handheld two-way radios come with NOAA Weather Radio technology. You can also check out our line of emergency radios, also featuring NOAA Weather Radio. Midland’s emergency radios also have multiple ways of sustaining power- battery, solar, and hand crank. This means you’ll never have to worry about not being able to access important alerts and information.

This alert is the most reliable when there is no power, your cell phone dies, or you don’t have cell service/internet connection.

Wireless Emergency Alerts

Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEAs) are short messages, directly from authorized federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial public alerting authorities. These authorities can broadcast alerts from cell towers to any WEA-enabled mobile device.

Local public safety officials, the National Weather Service, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, and the President of the United States can send these alerts.

These alerts look like text messages, but get your attention with a unique sound and vibration repeated twice. They are no more than 360 characters and include information about the type of alert, time, what agency issued the alert, and any action you can take.

These alerts are FREE.

Make sure you’re receiving the alerts by following the steps below:

  1. Check the settings on your mobile device
    1. Older phones might not be WEA capable and some cell phones require you to opt into the alerts.
    2. Some providers call these messages “Government Alerts,” or “Emergency Alert Messages.”
  2. Check with you provider to see if they can resolve the issue
    1. All major phone providers and some smaller providers participate in WEA.
    2. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) registry of WEA providers.

Emergency Alert System (EAS)

The Emergency Alert System is a national public warning system. It allows the president to address the country within 10 minutes during a national emergency. State and local officials may also use the system to deliver important alerts such as weather information, imminent threats, AMBER alerts, and local incident information.

    • EAS comes through broadcasters, satellite digital audio services, direct broadcast satellite providers, cable television systems, and wireless cable systems
      • These are the alerts you see come through your TV
    • The President has sole responsibility for deciding when the national-level EAS is activated
      • FEMA and FCC are in charge of national-level tests and exercises
    • When all other means of alerting the public aren’t available, the EAS is used