Warrensburg Weather Week

| March 8, 2013 | 11:51 pm
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The Warrensburg Fire Department held several events this week in conjunction with National Severe Weather Preparedness Week.  Click to hear KMZU’s Sarah Scott speak with Fire and Emergency Prevention Officer Jeremy Van Wey:

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Van Wey said National Severe Weather Preparedness Week is a good time to think about their plans.  He also recommends people put together a kit of basic supplies in case the power goes out for several days.

Press Release from Warrensburg Fire Chief Phil Johnston

This is National Severe Weather Preparedness Week. Some people believe that severe weather preparedness activities are only occurring in Kansas and Missouri, but this is a national event.

The City of Warrensburg, Johnson County and the University of Central Missouri will test storm warning systems tomorrow, Tuesday, March 5, 2013 at 12:15 pm. Statewide testing is scheduled for 1:00 pm, but UCM opted to conduct their campus-wide tests at 12:15 pm. In order to avoid confusion that could result with two siren system soundings 45 minutes apart, we consolidated the City and County tests to coincide with the UCM siren tests.

FEMA, the American Red Cross, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration have combined resources and are offering many educational resources and other beneficial information at this web site:

http://www.nws.noaa.gov/om/severeweather/index.shtml

An excellent guide to tornado and severe storm preparedness is located at:

http://www.nws.noaa.gov/om/severeweather/resources/ttl6-10.pdf

SUPERVISORS ARE RESPONSIBLE – FROM THE CITY MANAGER TO THE NEWEST FIRST LINE SUPERVISOR – FOR ENCOURAGING PREPARATION AND TAKING PROPER ACTIONS DURING A STORM EVENT

I encourage each supervisor to discuss preparedness with his or her immediate subordinates. I am participating in a Snow Storm Debriefing Meeting with the City Manager and others at 2:00 pm tomorrow, and I hope we have time to discuss severe weather preparedness issues at tomorrow’s meeting.

MY GOODNESS. WHAT DO I DO NOW?

In the event of a tornado warning, it is important to seek shelter in the lowest level of your building. If outside, seek shelter inside a building rather than remain outside. If you are outside away from a building or in a vehicle when a tornado warning occurs, seek a low spot on the ground, lie in a prone position while covering your head and neck as well as you can, and avoid standing up before the storm has moved beyond you. While you may get very wet while on the ground, you are much less likely to be hit by flying debris or serve as a human lightning rod.

Obviously, if you are reclining in a ditch that is filling with water, you need to move up the side of the ditch to avoid being in water. Don’t take shelter under trees or metal objects. Stay away from tall items. Lightning strikes can induce high voltages in waterways, and you don’t want to be in a water-filled ditch during a thunderstorm. There is a big difference from being wet from rain and remaining in a water-filled ditch.

DON’T PROCRASTINATE – DEVELOP A PLAN “B” AND BE MENTALLY READY

The above paragraph isn’t very reassuring. In order to avoid having to deal with these types of scenarios, make a point of following weather updates via AM/FM radio or TV broadcasts. Monitor NOAA Weather Radio. Follow weather sources on Twitter. Use your cell phone to obtain up-to-the-moment weather information. The point of this is to PREPARE IN ADVANCE. Once the storm begins, you are likely to be in BIG TROUBLE if this is your first time to think about how you should be reacting when the sirens start sounding.

Don’t go on that walk or bicycle ride if there is a threat of severe weather. Remain inside or near your home or other suitable and safe means of shelter.

WHAT ELSE CAN I DO TO BE BETTER PREPARED?

There are three important steps you can take to improve your Storm Preparedness.

1. Make plans to attend the Severe Storm Spotter training at UCM’s Naum Auditorium in the W.C. Morris Building. The training will be held on March 21 at 7:00 PM. The training is always well attended, it is excellent, and there is no charge. No RSVP is necessary.

2. Acquire a weather alert radio that is equipped with the S.A.M.E. message encoding format. The code for Johnson County is “029101” – the Fire Department can help you program the radio. You will need to RSVP with Battalion Chief Guy Parsons or me if you want us to help you.

3. Follow the Fire Department’s Twitter Account by using @WBG_FIRE_OEM. Also follow @NWSKansasCity and other area sources of severe weather and winter weather information.

PREPAREDNESS PAYS HUGE DIVIDENDS. DOING NOTHING USUALLY PRODUCES VERY SERIOUS OR FATAL CONSEQUENCES.

We each have many choices to make each day. Please decide today what you need to do – whether at home, on the road, out jogging or at work – when severe weather surfaces. The best person to decide what is best for you isn’t going to send you an email and check on you or make suggestions. You are that best person. Take action promptly when warnings are issued. Don’t delay.

You will no doubt read and hear more about Severe Weather Preparedness this week and in the weeks to come. Please be attentive and heed advise regarding the steps we should take before and during severe weather.

Please contact Jim Kushner, Guy Parsons, Jeremy Vanwey or me if you would like additional information or have questions.

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