Partnering with Kentucky Emergency Management and the National Weather Service, Lexington Kentucky Emergency Management recognizes Feb 22 – 28, 2016 is “Severe Weather Awareness Week in Kentucky.”
“Severe weather is always a threat in Kentucky,” said Pat Dugger, Director of Lexington’s Division of Emergency Management. “Already in 2016, Kentuckians have experienced historic snow falls, followed less than a week later with the of risks of severe storms and tornadoes. It is important to ensure your safety and the safety of the entire community to plan ahead and know what to do in the event severe weather or a tornado warning is issued.”
As part of severe weather awareness activities, a statewide tornado drill will be conducted.
At approximately 10:017 a.m. EST, Tuesday, Feb 23, the National Weather Service (NWS), partnering with Kentucky Emergency Management (KYEM), the Kentucky Weather Preparedness Committee (KWPC) and Kentucky Broadcasters Association (KBA), will issue a tornado warning test message through NOAA All-Hazards Weather Radios and other available systems.
Outdoor warning sirens will sound across some Kentucky communities; weather alert radios will activate; and television and radio stations and mobile devices will broadcast the alert – allowing the public the opportunity to practice tornado safety measures. Note: Unless there is a threat of severe weather Lexington WILL participate in the drill by sounding outdoor sirens.
The broadcast test message will emphasize this is only a test of the alert system. During the test alert, all Kentuckians, businesses, hospitals, nursing homes, educators and government agencies are encouraged to practice their tornado safety drill. This includes identifying the closest severe storm shelter in a home, at work, and at school.
Severe weather preparedness begins with knowing the risks:
Understand the type of hazardous weather that can affect where you live and work, and how the weather could impact you and your family. In Lexington, hazardous weather includes high winds, heavy rains, flooding, thunderstorms and tornadoes.
Here are some things to do:
- Stay aware of the local weather forecast. Get a NOAA Weather Radio for your home and office.
- Download an app for your smartphone that will give you local severe weather alerts.
- Access a local weather forecast in the morning and the evening – more often if severe weather is forecast.
- Develop a personal and family emergency plan that considers all types of local hazards.
Your severe thunderstorm/tornado safety plan should include:
- Locate a tornado shelter place in an interior room on the lowest level of a building, away from windows. The ideal place is a basement or a closet or bathroom with no windows.
- Tell everyone where the designated shelter is and practice gathering there. Don’t forget to bring pets into the shelter room with you, if possible.
- Bring a battery-powered radio and smartphone with you into the shelter so you know when the danger of severe weather has passed.
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 designated tornado shelter.
- Once people reach predesignated 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 whether the shelter you chose was large enough for everyone, easy to get to and uncluttered. Is the shelter suitable for those who have impaired mobility or other disabilities?
Help emergency managers and weather officials improve weather notifications and awareness campaigns by completing a short online survey.
During severe weather, if you are caught outdoors and unable to seek indoor shelter, 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 not designed to warn persons inside homes, apartments or businesses. Many tornadoes also strike during the night. If you are asleep or don’t happen to have a television or radio turned on when a severe weather warning is issued, weather alert radios with battery backup are always on and ready to sound an alarm. A NOAA All-Hazards Weather Radio is the most effective way to monitor severe weather watches and warnings at any time of day or night.
Homes and businesses alike should have and should monitor weather alert radios, which automatically transmit NWS severe weather watches and warnings 24 hours a day.
Information about severe weather preparedness week is available from the Lexington Emergency Management website at BeReadyLexington.com. Information is also available from the Lexington Emergency Management Facebook page – LexingtonKYEM – and the emergency management Twitter account – @LEXKYEM.
REMEMBER: If inclement weather is in the forecast on Feb 23, the Statewide Tornado Drill will be rescheduled.