During National Severe Weather Awareness Week, the Emergency Management Agency discusses what to do in the event of severe weather.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – As we watch the devastating tornadoes of 2012 and the recent killer tornadoes in Mayfield, many are wondering how to stay safe during severe storms.
Although tornado and severe weather sirens play an important role in our safety, you may not always hear them.
According to Lexington-Fayette County Emergency Management, there are 30 Fayette County severe weather sirens at parks and golf courses, but they’re only meant to be heard if you’re outdoors. .
“They were never designed to be strong enough to alert people if you’re inside,” said John Bobel, public information officer for Lexington-Fayette Emergency Management.
Weather siren alerts, as well as messages through LexAlerts, the city’s warning system, are released to the public after the National Weather Service issues a warning, according to the agency. On average, it’s about 13 minutes before a tornado or severe weather hits.
According to Bobel, during the time following the issuance of the alert, it is crucial to get to safety.
“Now is not the time to run outside, pull out your cell phone and take pictures. Now is the time to take cover and make sure family members are in a safe area,” Bobel said.
It is therefore important to be prepared in advance, to reserve a safe place in your home and, if you are away, to seek designated shelter from the weather.
“Basements are good, interior rooms are good without windows. A closet under a stairwell is a good place. Because the structure of the house will protect you. You definitely want to stay away from windows and doors,” Bobel said.
You also need to make sure you are prepared with “to-go bags” and emergency kits for each family member. Taelar Christman, who lives in Lexington, says she has travel bags and emergency kits ready just in case.
“Here we have first aid kits in our house and emergency bags, just little things so weather preparedness isn’t really on our minds. I feel pretty confident and comfortable that if the power should go out, we’re resourceful enough to figure things out,” Christman said.
According to Bobel, your travel bag should contain enough clothes for a few days. Bobel also recommends keeping a written and printed emergency plan, as well as an out-of-town emergency contact in case you have to leave due to extreme weather conditions.
“You take your emergency kit, you take your printed emergency plan, you take family members’ departure kits, and you stay with a family or friend in an unaffected area until you can back to normal,” Bobel said.
You can also stay informed by signing up for your city or county’s alert system. In Lexington, this system is called LexAlerts. You can sign up and learn more about making an emergency plan at bereadylexington.com.