Time to be mindful of severe weather

Time to be mindful of severe weather

 THE ISSUE: March is Severe Weather Preparedness Month.

OUR VIEW:  Severe weather can happen anytime. March is an annual reminder to review one’s emergency plan.

CARLINVILLE (March 8, 2018) – The Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) in cooperation with other local emergency management organizations annually promotes March as Severe Weather Preparedness Month. While acknowledging that severe weather can occur anytime, it’s important to have an annual reminder to make sure residents understand where they should take shelter, the importance of having a family communications plan and what should be included in an emergency preparedness kit.

This concept is similar to twice a year when we change our clocks forward or back, local fire personnel use that occasion to remind us to change our smoke alarm batteries. News 4 from St. Louis has been promoting its Storm Mode tour throughout the region and last week visited Litchfield. The four meteorologists from the television station were present at the Litchfield High School gym and were greeted by a standing room only crowd. They shared video reminders of severe weather examples in the local areas as a poignant reminder to not be caught off guard and to heed the weather warnings that they in conjunction with the National Weather Service issue.

Practical tips on where to take shelter if caught on the roadway or in a public building during a storm were provided. They noted that while many families often say they’ll meet outside their home or a neighbor’s home in the case of a tornado destroying their home, they noted that since the devastation could be widespread it is good to have a site in mind that is outside the immediate area to meet and insure everyone is safe.

While admittedly we don’t often think that an emergency preparedness kit is vital in our area, the meteorologists stressed that it is and actually shared what was contained within one of their own kits. At a minimum one should have the following basic supplies: one gallon of water per person for a total of three days’ supply; a three days’ supply of non-perishable food; a flashlight, a battery-powered or hand-crank radio; NOAA weather radio, extra batteries, cell phone with chargers, multi-purpose tool; emergency blanket; first aid kit with medications and medical items; sanitation and personal hygiene items; copies of personal documents; family and emergency contact information; local maps, and extra cash.

During the month of March IEMA and the Illinois Emergency Services Management Association (IESMA) are sponsoring an online contest that offers Illinois residents a chance to win a weather alert radio. See the Ready.Illinois.gov website to register before March 31. A total of 100 weather alert radios will be awarded to randomly selected participants who register after reading information about the radios and successfully completing a five-question quiz. A Severe Weather Preparedness Guide that provides tips on how to prepare for weather emergencies is available on the Ready.Illinois website.

While it is hoped that we will never have to use the items in our kit, in the event that we do, we will be confident in our plan to have a documented plan that the entire household is in agreement on.