Tis the season...Tornado that is!
In Kansas we are always at risk of severe weather and this time of year the possibilities increase. It's time to review the appropriate steps to prepare for and protect ourselves from severe weather. I've listed some things to think about so that you can be prepared to provide the greatest degree of protection from sever weather to your family and friends. Today we are far better equipped to prepare ourselves with the advent of high technology warning systems and able to more accurately predict conditions most likely to create tornado type activity, with days of advanced warning. But the weather service can only predict and warn; YOU have to take action.
First and foremost, develop a severe weather plan for you and your family. Discuss it in detail with them and practice the drill a few times so that if the time comes everyone knows how to react quickly and safely. Next, have a “Public Alert” certified weather radio available to receive weather information. Often at this time of the year you can get one free from local television stations or other sources. If not, one can be purchased at most retail outlets at minimal cost.
If you have dedicated space in your home such as a safe room or a basement, pre-position a home emergency kit to provide you and your family with three days of basic needs and place it in the location in your home you will seek refuge. Consider packing items such as an LED flashlight that has a beacon or flashing feature, a battery operated lantern, extra batteries for all battery operated items, enough blankets to keep everyone covered and warm, dry foods with extended shelf life such as crackers, small jars of peanut butter and jelly, survival crackers, chocolate bars, and any other foods relative to known health conditions of the family, a case of water, and a small first aid kit with basic necessities. It's possible you might be in your shelter for a few days and a deck of playing cards may come in handy! Always remember that children, especially young ones, have a tendency to act out and may invade your emergency kit to "play tornado." It's wise to find a method of securing the kit so it can't be invaded, ensuring the items you think you have in the kit are waiting for you when you need them most. A combination lock is recommended!
Make sure while you are at work you are aware of the shelter. Be aware of the weather conditions at all times. Know when there is an increased potential for severe weather and make sure you understand the different weather notifications:
Tornado Watch –The National Weather Service has determined that conditions are right for the stated type of weather to possibly occur.
Tornado Warning -The National Weather Service has determined that conditions indicate that it is probable for the stated type of weather to occur or it is already occurring.
Tornado Siren Activation –During sever weather activity, the City WILL NOT activate the siren warning system for any other reason than to warn you of imminent danger. If you hear the City’s outdoor warning sirens it means you are in imminent danger and need to seek shelter immediately!
Make yourself and your family aware of these basic tornado safety rules:
1. The safest place to be is in an underground shelter, basement, or safe room. If no underground shelter or safe room is available, a small, windowless interior room or hallway on the lowest level of a sturdy building is the safest alternative.
2. Mobile homes are not safe during tornadoes.Abandon mobile homes and go to the nearest sturdy building or shelter.
3. If you are caught outdoors, seek safety in a basement, shelter or sturdy building or as a last resort get into a vehicle with your seat belt on and put your head down, covering yourself with a blanket if possible.
4. If you can get noticeably lower than the level of the roadway, exit the vehicle and lie flat in that area.
5. Once you take shelter due to the probability of a tornado in your area, stay sheltered until you have confirmation from a weather information source such as radio, television or weather radio that indicate the potential has passed. Only then should you come out of the protected shelter.
6. Remember that tornadoes can occur any time the of day and any day of the year. Be prepared!
If you have any questions pertaining to sever weather, local shelter and warning methods, feel free to contact Chief Russ Buller at 327-4412.