Homeland Security and Emergency Management

A Division of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety

Public Outreach

Minnesota Severe Weather Awareness Week

During Minnesota's annual Severe Weather Awareness Week (SWAW) normally in mid-April, the Department of Public Safety and the National Weather Service work together with statewide media outlets to promote general weather safety and emergency preparedness. 

Use this opportunity to build those critical relationships with your schools, community groups and business leaders!  This is the perfect time to talk about their emergency plans and how they can prepare for the upcoming severe weather season.

Statewide Tornado Drills 

The most important events during Severe Weather Awareness Week are the two annual statewide tornado drills.  These drills are normally scheduled for Thursday at 1:45 p.m. and 6:55 p.m.  (Counties may chose to opt out of the drills if actual severe weather is possible in the area)
Outdoor warning sirens and NOAA Weather Radios will sound in a simulated tornado warning.  The first drill is intended for institutions and businesses. The evening drill is intended for second shift workers and families.

How to Participate

If you are interested in some ideas on how you, your family, business, or your community can participate in Severe Weather Awareness Week, check out some ideas on this list
Educators, leaders or communicators may want to use this Severe Weather Awareness Week PowerPoint Presentation to help deliver this information.

Why Severe Weather Awareness Week?

According to the National Weather Service, Minnesota experiences an average of 40 tornadoes per year. In 2012, 37 twisters touched down. A record was set in 2010 with 104 tornadoes across the state.
Understanding this threat and knowing what to do when a tornado is approaching can save lives.
Take advantage of Severe Weather Awareness Week to review your own and your family's emergency procedures and prepare for weather-related hazards.
Each day of the week focuses on a different weather safety topic:
Check each page link above for specific information about these topics, including factsheets, checklists, data and other resources.

Winter Hazard Awareness Week

To help Minnesota residents minimize the risks of winter, the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, in collaboration with the National Weather Service and other state, federal, and non-profit agencies, sponsors Winter Hazard Awareness Week each fall.  
The event includes a media campaign, website promotion and social media posts. The week-long effort provides specific information each day that can be used in conjunction with school, church, or civic programs.
Monday:    Winter Storms
Wednesday:   Winter Fire Safety
Friday:   Winter Driving 

September is National Preparedness Month

Every September the Department of Homeland Security and FEMA sponsor National Preparedness Month across the U.S. .  During the month, local governments, businesses and community organizations are encouraged to educate and engage with their people about how they can take three basic preparedness steps to become ready for any emergency.   

Emergency Preparedness Kit1. Create an Emergency Kit

Families should also have at least one emergency kit in their home. At the bare minimum, this kit should include a three day supply of water and non-perishable food. The kit should also have a first aid kit, a flashlight, a battery-operated radio, a whistle, dust masks, plastic bags and toilet paper along with a wrench in case you have to turn your utilities off.

make-a-plan.JPG2. Make an Emergency Plan

First and foremost, families should take the short amount of time necessary to make an emergency plan. Where would you and your kids meet if a disaster struck and you weren’t all together? What if your cell phones didn’t work? Determining a pre-designated location to gather will lessen the panic.

weather-radio.jpg3. Be Informed

Most communities may be impacted by several types of hazards during a lifetime. Americans also travel more than ever before and people may be in areas impacted by hazards they are unfamilar with. Knowing what to do before, during and after an emergency is a critical part of being prepared and may make all the difference when seconds count.

CERT_victim_carry.png4. Get Involved

In the face of disaster, Americans come together with courage, compassion and unity and ask, “How can I help?” There are many ways to Get Involved, especially before a disaster occurs. The whole community can participate in programs and activities to make their families, homes and communities safer from risks and threats. Community leaders agree the formula for ensuring a safer homeland consists of volunteers, a trained and informed public and increased support of emergency response agencies during disasters.

Join the National Preparedness Month Coalition

Local governments, businesses and community organizations can use National Preparedness Month to host events, promote volunteer programs and share emergency preparedness information. To get started go to www.Ready.gov NPM page and register to become a member of the NPM Coalition.
Once registered, members have access to a toolkit that includes suggestions for activities and events, templates, articles, banners and other customizable materials. The www.Ready.gov website provides free emergency preparedness information and resources in English, Spanish and 12 other languages.
Each September, coalition members share preparedness information with their colleagues, customers, employees, and communities. For an inclusive list of volunteer opportunities in your communities, visit www.serve.gov.

Emergency preparedness resources for seniors and people with disabilities.

Disasters and emergencies often put people at increased risk for safety and health – especially those who have disabilities or vulnerabilities. Always being prepared for emergencies can significantly reduce that risk and help ensure safety and well-being of people with disabilities during emergencies or unforeseen events. Even just a few minutes of planning and preparation with your family and friends now can make a world of difference later, if and when disaster strikes.