Governor Matt Bevin has signed a proclamation designating March 1 – 7, 2017, as Severe Weather Awareness Week in Kentucky. Severe weather knows no boundaries and impacts every individual in every region of the Commonwealth. Because of this, you need to BE AWARE – BE PREPARED – HAVE A PLAN!
Severe weather comes in many forms and emergency planning should consider the possibility of all types of local hazards.
"Although severe weather is the Commonwealth’s most constant threat, Kentucky Emergency Management (KYEM) is charged with assuring that our citizens are prepared for all hazards,” said Michael Dossett, Director of Kentucky Emergency Management. Dossett continued, "Testing your emergency plan during Severe Weather Awareness Week, whether with family members or your co-workers, ensures we are all ready for the next weather hazard that may challenge the Commonwealth.”
As part of severe weather awareness activities, a statewide tornado drill will be conducted in conjunction with the proclamation.
At approximately 10:07 a.m. EST, Tuesday, Feb 28, the National Weather Service (NWS), in partnership with Kentucky Emergency Management (KYEM), the Kentucky Weather Preparedness Committee (KWPC), and Kentucky Broadcasters Association will issue a test tornado warning message.
Across Kentucky, outdoor warning sirens may sound, weather alert radios will activate, and television and radio stations will broadcast the alert; allowing the public the opportunity to practice tornado safety.
According to Buddy Rogers, Chairman of KWPC, “The only true way to test the alert system is to activate it for drills such as the statewide tornado drill.” He stated, “We certainly do not want to alarm the public and the broadcasted test message will emphasize this is only a test of the alert system.” Rogers concluded, “During the test alert, all Kentuckians, businesses, hospitals, nursing homes, educators, and government agencies are encouraged to participate in the tornado drill and update their emergency plans as needed.”
Being prepared for severe weather starts with identifying threats and risks. The first step for each citizen is to become weather ready by knowing what types of weather hazards can affect where they live and work, and how the weather could impact them and their family. Citizens should check local weather forecasts regularly, get a NOAA Weather Alert Radio, and sign up for alerts from local emergency management officials.
BE AWARE – BE PREPARED – HAVE A PLAN!
A good tornado plan should:
• Designate a tornado sheltering area in an interior room on the lowest level of a building and away from windows. Basements are best, but if there is no basement, choose an interior bathroom, closet, or other enclosed space on the lowest level of a building.
• Ensure employee or family members know where the designated shelter is located.
To conduct a tornado drill at home or work:
• Announce the start of the drill.
• Participants should act as though a tornado warning has been issued for the immediate area or a tornado has been sighted nearby.
• They should move as quickly as possible to the pre-designated tornado shelter.
• Once people reach pre-designated safe areas, they should crouch as low as possible to the floor, facing down, covering their heads with their hands.
• Once everyone has reached safe shelter, announce the mock tornado has passed and the drill is complete.
• After the drill, perform an assessment. Determine if the designated shelter was large enough for everyone, easy to get access to and uncluttered.
• Help emergency managers and weather officials improve weather notifications and awareness campaigns by completing a short online survey, available at http://kyem.ky.gov/Preparedness/Pages/Tornado.aspx.
If caught outdoors and unable to seek indoor shelter during a tornado warning, lie flat in a nearby ditch or depression and cover your head with your hands. Be aware of the potential for flooding.
Remember, outdoor sirens are designed to warn people outdoors to seek shelter immediately and are NOT designed to warn indoor inhabitants. Tornadoes can, and do, strike each month of the year during both day and night when people are more vulnerable and may not have a television or radio turned on when a severe weather warning is issued. A battery back-up weather alert radio is recommended and is the most effective way to monitor, and receive, severe weather watches and warnings because they are always on and ready to sound an alarm and at any time of day or night.
Homes and businesses alike should have and monitor weather alert radios, which transmit NWS severe weather watches and warnings automatically, 24 hours a day.
The governor’s proclamation, severe weather safety tips, helpful links, a social media severe weather toolkit, useful resources, along with the tornado drill survey can be found on the KYEM website at: www.kyem.ky.gov , where you can follow KYEMPIO on Twitter, like us on Facebook and sign up for mobile alert messages. Additional tornado safety information is also available at http://www.ready.gov/tornadoes and www.weather.gov .
KWPC asks that anyone posting to social media regarding the tornado drill, or other weather events, use the hashtag #KyWX.
If inclement weather is forecasted for Feb 28, the Statewide Tornado Drill will be rescheduled for March 1, or the first available “Blue Sky” date.
(story provided by Kentucky Emergency Management)