This Citizen Corps News Digest is provided by FEMA's Individual & Community Preparedness Division to highlight community preparedness and resilience resources and activities recently announced by federal agencies and Citizen Corps partners.

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Spring Can Bring Severe Weather

April showers bring May flowers, but you should be prepared for possible severe spring weather, too. This can include tornadoes, lightning, and floods.  

Prepare your family for spring weather hazards while at home or traveling with information from the  National Weather Service . Learn how to prepare and respond to the hazards most common during springtime by clicking any of the links below:

To help spread the message of severe weather preparedness, review the  Severe Weather Safety Social Media Toolkit . Find additional flood and tornado preparedness information on the  Prepareathon (formerly America's PrepareAthon!) website


Keep Food Safe in a Power Outage

How long will food stored in the refrigerator be safe to eat during a power outage?

Emergencies happen, especially with extreme weather conditions. When they do, the best strategy begins with an emergency plan. This includes knowing the proper food safety precautions to take before, during, and after a power outage.

Minimize the potential loss of food and reduce the risk of foodborne illness by knowing how to determine food safety. You can learn the right decisions for keeping your family safe during an emergency with these food safety facts from the Food and Drug Administration .

Be Prepared

  • Have a refrigerator thermometer.
  • Know where to buy dry ice.
  • Keep three days worth of ready-to-eat foods on hand that do not require cooking or cooling, which depend on electricity.

When the Power Goes Out

  • Keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible.
  • A refrigerator keeps food cold for about four hours if it is unopened.
  • A full freezer keeps the temperature for approximately 48 hours (24 hours if it is half full) if the door remains closed.
  • Refrigerators should be kept at 40 F or below for proper food storage.

Once the Power is Restored

  • Check the temperature inside of your refrigerator and freezer.
  • If you keep an appliance thermometer in the freezer, check the temperature when the power comes back on. If the freezer thermometer reads 40 F or below, the food is safe and may be refrozen.
  • If you do not keep a thermometer in the freezer, check each package of food to determine its safety. You can't rely on appearance or odor. If the food still contains ice crystals or is 40 F or below, it is safe to refreeze or cook.
  • Refrigerated food should be safe as long as the power was out for no more than four hours. Keep the door closed as much as possible.
  • Discard any perishable food (such as meat, poultry, fish, eggs or leftovers) that stays above 40 F for two hours or more.

Inadequately refrigerated or frozen perishable food such as meat (like beef or pork), poultry (such as chicken or turkey), seafood, milk, and eggs may cause illness if consumed, even when thoroughly cooked.

Begin preparing for power outages, severe weather and other emergencies now by joining the Prepareathon .


Get Real-Time Emergency Alerts on Your Mobile Device

Do you know when a tornado is coming? Did you know it is possible to get real-time alerts and warnings ahead of time?

According to the 2015 Federal Emergency Management Agency National Household Survey , three out of four people know how to get real-time alerts and warnings ahead of a storm. Make sure you are one of them.

Stay safe against severe weather with real-time emergency alerts on your cellular phone and computer. Keep yourself prepared for the unexpected by receiving information about emergencies in your area.

Review the Know Your Alerts and Warnings fact sheet from Prepareathon to receive alerts as soon as possible.


Preventing Arson at Houses of Worship Webinar

Each year for  Arson Awareness Week , the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) gathers and shares information to raise awareness of arson or youth fire-setting and provide individuals with strategies to combat these problems in their community. Arson Awareness Week will be from May 7-13 this year and USFA is providing  shareable content  about how to help community leaders increase awareness about how to prevent arson at houses of worship.

The burning of a house of worship not only devastates the affected congregation, but wounds the entire community. Whether the motivation behind the arson is hate or reckless vandalism, a congregation views it as an attack on their beliefs and values. Arson robs congregations of their valuable assets, lives and property. Arson destroys more than the buildings used as houses of worship; it can devastate a community, resulting in the decline of the neighborhood through increased insurance premiums, loss of business revenue, and a decrease in property values. 

Houses of worship are particularly vulnerable to fire damage because they're often unoccupied for long periods of time, and in many cases, in rural areas. Rural properties will generally sustain more severe damage – even with an accidental fire – since discovery and response time may be delayed. 

USFA is also hosting a "Preventing Arson at Houses of Worship" webinar on Tuesday, April 25 at 1 p.m. ET. Participants can  register for the webinar online .


Important Dates to Remember


Disclaimer: The reader recognizes that the federal government provides links and informational data on various disaster preparedness resources and events and does not endorse any non-federal events, entities, organizations, services or products. Please let us know about other events and services for individual and community preparedness that could be included in future newsletters by contacting:

About FEMA

FEMA's mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.

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The social media links provided are for reference only. FEMA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies or applications.