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National Preparedness Month: Tips to Become 'Ready, Responsive and Resilient' to Extreme Weather

Marked as National Preparedness Month, September brings the reminder of how pivotal it is to be prepared for extreme weather in order to minimize the impact on families, communities and essential infrastructures.

The National Weather Service is partnered with AccuWeather in order to mold a resilient nation that has the proper information, tools and knowledge to brace for nature's fury. Known as Weather-Ready Nation, the program strives to hinder the potential damage by encouraging citizens to prepare now for weather that could strike at any moment.

September's headlining phrase for creating a strong, equipped country is "Be Disaster Aware, Take Action to Prepare." The simple message can be taken in great stride to protect yourself, your family and your entire community.

The entire effort is based upon four pillars: be informed, make a plan, build a kit and get involved.

The Weather-Ready Nation Ambassador Lead for the NWS Douglas Hilderbrand stressed the instrumental importance of treating preparedness as a "365-days-of-the-year state of mind."

"We have national preparedness month to shine the spotlight on preparedness, but really it's every single day that people need to know as they're making their plans and what risks are out there," he said.

As the weather is ever-evolving and rapidly changing, Hilderbrand strongly encourages people to remain prepared even when away from the shelter of home. While having a kit is essential, there should be plans in place if danger strikes at a school, an office or even in transit.

Hilderbrand cited the late-January 2014 winter storm that slammed Atlanta and left highways clogged with stranded motorists. The massive number of people stuck on icy, impassable highways could have been avoided by businesses having adequate plans to keep employees home and off dangerous roads, he said.

Weather and climate disasters have been the catalyst for a connected, supportive nation, including events such as Hurricane Katrina. To this day, Hurricane Katrina remains the most expensive billion-dollar disaster in the U.S. since 1980 with over $149 billion lost.

Still, communities need to think of everyday weather events as a way to protect each other as well.

"Serve as an example to your family, neighbors, community. Inspire others to know the risk, take action and almost promote [preparedness] throughout your social network," Hilderbrand said.

Though hurricanes, tornadoes and floods stand out, the everyday threats of lightning, rip currents and power outages shouldn't be ignored.

Through tight-woven partnerships, the NWS, FEMA and enterprises like AccuWeather diligently work to further strengthen and prepare the nation in order to eliminate the severity of cataclysmic consequences weather can bring.

Enthused by AccuWeather's commitment to being a Weather-Ready Nation Ambassador, Hilderbrand explained that government and the private industry work hand-in-hand.

In a recent interview at AccuWeather Louis Uccellini, director of the NWS, sat down with Barry Lee Myers, AccuWeather CEO, and explained that "Weather-Ready Nation is part of a strategic plan to enhance communication and make businesses and citizens ready, responsive and resilient to disasters which are often weather-related."

"Not just NOAA, but the entire weather enterprise, of which AccuWeather is a predominant part, is instrumental in making forecasts and warnings and distributing them to a wide array of people who have to be ready for these types of events," Uccellini added.

In order to use September's reminder and create thorough and suitable plans, Hilderbrand listed several helpful resources to use such as FEMA, the American Red Cross and NOAA for proper planning. Smartphones have become an essential tool as well.

"Apps today are getting more and more sophisticated, of which AccuWeather is a great resource for that. You can take your phone with you everywhere," Hilderbrand said. "You always want to be somewhat connected when the threat does loom, no matter what the season."

AccuWeather, a prominent Weather-Ready Nation (WRN) Ambassador, is helping increase awareness during National Preparedness Month "Be Disaster Aware, Take Action to Prepare." AccuWeather has launched a series of articles, videos and media outreach to promote Weather-Ready Nation initiatives, including September's National Preparedness Month, working together to build a nation that is ready, responsive and resilient to the impacts of extreme weather events, as well as providing a series of informational WRN videos between National Weather Service Director Dr. Louis Uccellini and AccuWeather, Inc. CEO Barry Lee Myers to help people's lives.