Explore the fun things related to each story character.
Read the Kids Get A Plan Stories
The Adventures of Rabbit, Possum, and Squirrel in The 30/30 Rule Story
Professor Tinkermeister and the Wacky, Whiz-Bang, Weather-Watching Wonder Stroy
The Oak Tree Club
Interact with the Kids Get A Plan Activities
For Mobile & Tablet Devices:
Cut-Outs and Coloring Pages
The 30/30 Rule Cut Outs and Coloring Pages
Professor Tinkermeister Cut Outs and Coloring Pages
Get to know your Emergency Preparation Facts
- Every family should have an Emergency Plan. Before an emergency happens, sit down together and decide how you will get in contact with each other, where you will go, and what you will do during an emergency situation.
- Fill out the plan and place a copy in your family disaster supply kit and on the refrigerator in your kitchen. Also each family member should create and carry an Emergency Wallet Card with them at all times.
- Additional steps to creating your Family Emergency Plan include:
- Buy a NOAA Weather Radio-test it weekly (Wednesdays, 11a.m.-noon).
- Discuss the types of disasters that could occur.
- Identify a safe room in your home or that of a neighbor’s.
- Plan escape routes form your home and places to meet.
- Have an out-of-state family contact.
- Have a plan for your pets.
- Post emergency telephone numbers by your phone and make sure children know how and when to call 9-1-1.
- Check your insurance coverage- flood damage is not usually covered by homeowners insurance.
- Stock non-perishable emergency supplies and a disaster supply kit that should include:
- A three-day supply of food and water, a change of clothing, a blanket or sleeping bag for each person and a first aid kit that includes medications
- Emergency tools: Battery-powered radio, flashlight and extra batteries, work gloves and a fire extinguisher.
- Important family documents in a fire and waterproof container, an extra set of keys, credit card, and cash.
- Replace batteries, not only in your smoke detector but also in your NOAA Weather Radio in the spring and fall when Daylight Saving time changes.
- Take first aid, CPR and disaster preparedness classes through your local American Red Cross chapter.
- Most flood-related accidents could be avoided when people who come upon areas covered with water followed this simple advice: Turn Around Don't Drown.
- The reason that so many people drown during flooding is because few of them realize the incredible power of water. A mere six inches of fast-moving flood water can knock over an adult. It takes only two feet of rushing water to carry away most vehicles. This includes pickups and SUVs.
- If you come to an area that is covered with water, you will not know the depth of the water or the condition of the ground under the water. Play it smart, play it safe. Whether driving or walking, any time you come to a flooded road, Turn Around Don't Drown
- Follow these safety rules:
- Monitor the NOAA Weather Radio, or your favorite news source for vital weather related information.
- If flooding occurs, get to higher ground. Get out of areas subject to flooding. This includes dips, low spots, canyons, washes etc.
- Avoid areas already flooded, especially if the water is flowing fast. Do not attempt to cross flowing streams. Turn Around Don't Drown
- Road beds may be washed out under flood waters. NEVER drive through flooded roadways. Turn Around Don't Drown
- Do not camp or park your vehicle along streams and washes, particularly during threatening conditions.
- Be especially cautious at night when it is harder to recognize flood dangers.
- Flooding Safety Actions
- Never play in flooded areas. There can be hidden sharp objects, electrical lines and pollution which are all serious hazards.
- In highly flood-prone areas, keep materials on hand like sandbags, plywood, plastic sheeting, plastic garbage bags, lumber and shovels.
- Be aware of streams, canals and areas known to flood, so you or your evacuation routes are not cut off.
- Stay away from downed power lines and never drive into moving water.
- Drive carefully when water covers the road. If the road surface is obscured, water may be deeper than it appears.
- Do not use food that has come in contact with floodwaters.
- Do not use water that has come in contact with flood waters until it has been tested by authorities.
- Determine the elevation of your property. Consider what you can do in advance. Evaluate your insurance coverage.
- Flood Hazards
- The amount of rainfall can vary greatly from year to year. Some years brings floods. Other years bring droughts, or periods of little to no rainfall. Scientists have shown that these extreme conditions are related to the temperatures of the Pacific Ocean near the equator. The unusual warming of the Pacific Ocean and the winds above it causes a weather pattern called El Nino. El Nino usually brings heavier than normal rainfall for southern states. These heavy rains can cause our rivers and streams to overflow. Low areas may flood even though they are not near the rivers. Meanwhile, it brings warmer and drier weather to the states in the northwest.
- When the Pacific Ocean currents are cooler than normal, it causes the jet stream to stay further to the north. This weather pattern is called La Nina. In southern states, La Nina can cause a drought. In the northern states, it can cause colder weather and heavier than normal rainfall which could lead to rivers and streams to overflow. The two weather patterns usually follow each other, and have the most noticeable effect during the winter.
- Hurricanes, Typhoons and Flooding
- More tropical weather systems affect Florida than any other state in our country. Hurricanes and typhoons can cause storm surges along the coast. Storm surges occur when high winds bring a rush of water inland. These can be very dangerous to people who live along the coast. Because of advanced warnings of storms, residents can evacuate or leave the coastal areas to stay safe.
- Pooling Floodwater
- With every new home or street, there are fewer places for the rainwater to go. All of the water cannot absorb into the ground. With nowhere else to go, it runs off into rivers and streets.
- When heavy rains fall the water can spread out like sheets. This type of flooding is called sheet flow. If the ground is saturated, or full of water already, this water will flow across fields, yards and streets. These floods can cause severe damage to roads as well as to people's homes.
- Water can pool in low-lying areas for days or weeks. You should never play in standing floodwaters. The water can be contaminated with bacteria or chemicals that can cause you to become sick. Standing water is also a natural breeding ground for mosquitoes. Therefore it is important to avoid pooled water.
- Moving Floodwaters
- Rivers and streams that run out of their banks can cause waters to move. This moving water is especially dangerous when it crosses roadways. Moving water just two inches deep can cause a driver to lose control of the car. As the water gets deeper, the force it exerts on the car increases. One foot of moving water can carry most cars off the road!
- You should never try to cross a flooded road if you cannot tell how deep the water is. This becomes impossible at night when it is dark. Your best choice is to turn around and find a safer route.
- Flooding Facts
- As little as one foot of moving water can carry most cars off the road.
- Just six inches of fast-moving floodwater can sweep a person off his or her feet.
- Most flood-related deaths occur at night and are vehicular.
- Urban and small stream flash floods often occur in less than one hour.
- Tropical cyclones pose significant risk well inland due to fresh water flooding.
Wildfire Safety Actions
- Create a defensible or safe space of at least 30 feet around your home that is lean, clean and green.
- To help emergency vehicles gain access, make sure driveways are at least 12 feet wide with at least 15 feet of overhead clearance, and are easily identifiable.
- Keep gutters, eaves and yards clear of debris, sticks, pine needles and leaves.
- Trim all tree branches that hang over the house or are lower than 6 to 10 feet from the ground.
- Plant fire resistant plants such as dogwood, sycamore, magnolia, oaks, red maple, wild azalea, sweetgum, black cherry and ferns instead of pines and palmettos.
- Use fire resistant construction materials where possible, and fire resistant barriers when attaching flammable materials, such as wood decks or fences to the house.
- Follow local regulations for the burning or disposal of yard waste and other materials.
- Develop a personal disaster plan, including a plan for evacuating your home. Be sure to identify at least two routes out of your neighborhood or subdivision.
- A Prescription For Good Forest Health
- Wildfires are fires that start in natural wildlands. Most wildfires are started accidentally. Sometimes, for instance, people do not put their campfire out completely. Wildifres can also be started on purpose by people who commit the crime of arson. Sometimes wildfire can also start naturally with a lightning strike.
- Wildfires are not always bad. Some ecosystems need fire. For instance, fire destroys the leaves and logs that lay decaying on the forest floor. It also keeps the leaves in the canopy, or on top of the trees, thinned out. This lets more light in so that seeds and plants can grow on the forest floor. Many plants, birds and other animals need fires to change the environment in this way.
- Prescribed Burns
- There are many firefighters whose job is to put out wildfires. Sometimes these special men and women actually set carefully-controlled fires. This is called a prescribed burn. Prescribed burns mimic or copy what happens in nature. They are beneficial. They can keep wildfires from going out of control.
- Prescribed burns may be as small as a city block. They may also be large, involving thousands of acres of land. They are only done when weather conditions are just right. For instance, the wind must be blowing in the right direction so the fire moves where the firefighters want.
- Firefighters plan very carefully to set fires in the right place. They use rivers and roads to create a "line" that will stop the fires they set. These natural breaks keep the fire where they want it.
- Fighting Wildfires
- Even with all firefighters do to prevent wildfires, they still occur. The Florida Division of Forestry joins with local fire departments and other agencies to fight wildfires.
- The main tool Florida firefighters use is the fire plow. It is used to clear a break around the fire to keep it from moving forward. They also use helicopters to drop water on the flames to slow the spread of the fire, and allow the firefighters to get closer to the flames to create a fire break with the fire plow.
- A Prescription For Good Forest Health
Lean, Clean and Green
- Do you have a least 30 feet of space surrounding your home that is Lean, Clean and Green?
- The objective of "Defensible Space" is to reduce the wildfire threat to your home by changing the characteristics of the surrounding vegetation.
- Defensible space allows firefighters room to put out fires.
- Lean- Prune shrubs and cut back tree branches, especially within 15 feet of your chimney.
- Clean- Remove all dead plant material from around your home; this includes dead leaves, dry grass and even stacked firewood.
- Green- Plant fire-resistant vegetation that is healthy and green throughout the year.
Lightning Safety Actions
- Avoid open high ground and large isolated trees.
- Avoid water (swimming pools, lakes and rivers), beaches and boats.
- Seek shelter inside a building or an automobile, but not a convertible or golf cart.
- Stay away from doors, windows, and metal objects such as pipes or faucets.
- Stay off corded telephones and away from electrical devices.
- Lightning heats the air up to 50,000 degrees Fahrenheit. This rapid heating of the air produces the shock wave that results in thunder.
- A ground strike can produce somewhere between 100 million to one billion volts of electricity.
- The length of an average cloud-to-ground lightning channel can range from two to ten miles.
Florida-Lightning Capital of the U.S.
- Florida's unique location, surrounded by warm water, provides the necessary ingredients for thunderstorms to form. It has earned us the title of, "Lightning Capital of the U.S." Other places in the world have even more lightning though. According to a NASA study, there are areas in the tropics of Africa, Asia, and South and Central America that have more lightning than Florida does. Rwanda, a country in Africa, is known as the, "Lightning Capital of the World." The important thing is to stay safe by going indoors if you see lightning or hear thunder.
- If you can see lightning or hear thunder, even in the distance, you are in danger. Go indoors or into a vehicle and remain there until 30 minutes after the last thunder is heard.
If Someone Is Struck By Lightning, What Should You Do?
- Call 9-1-1 immediately. With proper immediate treatment, including CPR if necessary, most victims survive a lightning strike.
- Use the '30-30 RULE' to determine the threat of lightning in your area.
- 30 Seconds:
- Count the seconds between seeing lightning and hearing thunder. If this time is less than 30 seconds, lightning is still a potential threat. Seek shelter immediately.
- 30 Minutes:
- After hearing the last thunder, wait 30 minutes before leaving shelter. Many lightning deaths occur after the storm passes. Stay in a safe area until you are sure the threat has passed.
Tornado Safety Actions
- When a tornado watch is issued, be prepared to take action.
- When a tornado warning is issued, or a tornado is imminent, move to a small interior room away from windows.
- Consider constructing a tornado safe room in or adjacent to your home.
- Open Country
- Seek a nearby shelter if time permits.
- If not, lie flat in the nearest depression, a ditch or culvert. Cover your head with your arms.
- Abandon your vehicle and seek refuge in a building or, as a last resort, a ditch.
- Do not try to outrun a tornado.
- Offices, Hotels and Condominiums
- When action is required, take shelter in an interior hallway on a lower floor, closet or small room.
- As a last resort, get under heavy furniture, away from windows.
- Manufactured and Mobile Homes
- Have a plan of where to go during a tornado threat-a nearby pre-identified safe structure within walking distance.
- When a tornado watch is issued, be prepared to take action.
- Tornadoes are powerful and hard to predict! The time of year makes a big difference in how they form and just how powerful they are likely to be.
- Summer and Fall Tornadoes
- There are more tornadoes during June, July and August than at any other time of the year. In the summertime, thunderstorms move inland with the sea breezes. Tornadoes that develop within these thunderstorms may travel in almost any direction.
- Summertime tornadoes are usually small. They don't last very long. They usually cause minor damage and few deaths or injuries.
- During the summer and fall months tropical cyclones, or hurricanes, may produce tornadoes. These tornadoes often form in the outer rainbands and to the right of the hurricane's forward motion. Like other summer tornadoes, they are generally weak and do not usually last long. But sometimes, they can be violent. These tornadoes form quickly, and they may strike with little or no warning.
- Winter and Spring Tornadoes
- When the winds near the ground change quickly and are different from the winds high in the jet stream, it can create wind shear. Wind shear can cause the thunderstorms to spin and get stronger. Very strong thunderstorms are called supercells. Supercells can move over land 30 to 50 mph! These storms can produce strong winds (known as downbursts), large hail and violent tornadoes.
- In most of the U.S., tornadoes occur during the late afternoon or early evening. Yet, tornadoes in Florida are just as likely to occur during the night as in the afternoon. That is why it is good to always be prepared. If people are asleep they may not receive warnings from radio or TV. A solution to this problem is to have a NOAA Weather Radio in your home. A NOAA Weather Radio will alert you to a warning at any time, day or night.
- The National Weather Service issues watches and warnings during a tornado threat. When a warning is issued for your area, you should take cover immediately.
- If you hear the roaring and rumbling of a tornado, seek shelter in a small room on the lowest floor of a strong building. You should stay away from doors and windows. Leave mobile homes for safer shelter. Never try to outrun a tornado in a car. Instead, leave your car and take cover in a nearby building or lie down in a ditch on the side of the road.
Tornadoes Are Measured By The Fujita Scale
- The Fujita scale (F-scale) uses actual damage to estimate a tornado's wind speed.
- F0 Gale Tornado
- 40-72 mph
- Some damage to chimneys. Tree branches broken off. Shallow rooted trees uprooted.
- F1 Moderate Tornado
- 73-112 mph
- Peels surface off roofs. Mobile homes overturned. Moving autos pushed off roads.
- F2 Significant Tornado
- 113-157 mph
- Considerable damage. Roofs torn off frame houses. Large trees snapped or uprooted. Light-object missiles generated.
- F3 Severe Tornado
- 158-206 mph
- Severe damage. Roofs and some walls torn off well-constructed homes. Most trees in forests uprooted. Heavy cars lifted off ground.
- F4 Devastating Tornado
- 207-260 mph
- Well-constructed houses leveled. Structures blown off weak foundations. Cars thrown and large missiles generated.
- F5 Incredible Tornado
- 261-318 mph
- Strong frame houses lifted off foundations and disintegrated. Automobile-sized missiles fly through the air in excess of 100 mph. Trees debarked.
- Hurricanes, cyclones, and typhoons are all the same weather phenomenon; we just use different names for these storms in different places. In the Atlantic and Northeast Pacific, the term "hurricane" is used. The same type of disturbance in the Northwest Pacific is called a "typhoon".
Hurricane Safety Actions
- Know if you live in an evacuation area. Know your home's vulnerability to storm surge, flooding and wind. Have a family plan.
- At the beginning of hurricane season (June), check your supplies, replace batteries and rotate your stock of food and water.
- If a storm threatens, listen to your local authorities. Evacuate if ordered.
- Tropical Storm
- Winds 39-73 mph
- Category 1 Hurricane
- Winds 74-95 mph
- No real damage to buildings. Damage to unanchored mobile homes.
- Category 2 Hurricane
- Winds 96-110 mph
- Some damage to building roofs, doors and windows. Considerable damage to mobile homes. Some trees blown down.
- Category 3 Hurricane
- Winds 111-130 mph
- Some structural damage to small homes. Large trees blown down. Mobile homes and poorly built signs destroyed.
- Category 4 Hurricane
- Winds 131-155 mph
- Wall failures in homes and complete roof structure failure on small homes. Total destruction of mobile homes. Trees, shrubs and signs all blown down.
- Category 5 Hurricane
- Winds 156 mph +
- Complete roof failure on homes and industrial buildings. Some complete building failures.
- Tropical Storm