Arizonans Encouraged To Prepare For Severe Weather Hazards
June 15, 2014
In early June, Governor Jan Brewer proclaimed a Monsoon Awareness Week in Arizona in anticipation of the 2014 monsoon season and summer severe weather hazards. However, the message from that week is relevant throughout the season.
Arizona's monsoon spans the hot summer months of June to mid-September. Extreme heat alone can cause dehydration, heat exhaustion and heat stroke. People over 65 years old, children under 5, persons with a pre-existing medical condition, and individuals who work outdoors during the hottest hours of the day are at a higher risk for heat-related illness.
Most Arizonans, however, associate the monsoon with scattered showers and higher humidities. Thunderstorms can cause localized flash flooding, dust storms and - if there's lightning--wildfires.
"Arizonans enjoy the refreshing rains that accompany the monsoon," said Arizona Division of Emergency Management (ADEM) Director Wendy Smith-Reeve. "But we have to be prepared for the severe weather that may come along with it."
ADEM has partnered with the National Weather Service; the Arizona departments of Health Services, Insurance, Public Safety, Transportation and Water Resources; and The Salvation Army to advocate preparedness before the "rainy season." Arizonans are encouraged to take the following actions in preparation for the monsoon season:
• Plan: Write communication and evacuation plans that identify a family meeting place, account for individuals' unique needs and family pets, and include an out-of-town contact. Practice your plan.
• Prepare: Set aside enough non-perishable food and potable water to sustain your family (including pets) for 72 hours. Suggested kit items include first aid supplies, a radio, batteries and a flashlight. Pack a smaller "go kit" with copies of important documents, cash and a phone charger for evacuations.
• Inquire: Know the threats to your community and how to react to them. Ask your child's school about their emergency plans. Bookmark http://www.AzEIN.gov for emergency updates and preparedness information.
• Inspire: Motivate others. Be a preparedness example by learning basic first aid, joining a Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), and/or talking to friends, family and coworkers about emergency preparedness. Better yet, take a friend or family member along to that first aid or CPR class.
Visit the Arizona Emergency Information Network at http://www.AzEIN.gov for official emergency updates, preparedness and hazard information, and multimedia resources.