Tornado and Severe Weather Awareness Week continues in Wisconsin, and the Thursday of the week has always consisted of a mock tornado drill. People, businesses, schools and communities are being asked to take time around 1:45 p.m. and 6:45 p.m. to know what they would do if a severe thunderstorm or tornado were to happen.
Planning for this is important to one’s safety, says Andrew Beckett with Ready Wisconsin. “Where they will seek shelter and how they will communicate with their family after the danger has passed.”
He provides WTMJ with three points to consider when creating this plan. First is to know what way one will receive severe weather alerts. “NOAA Weather Radio, local media outlets, smartphone apps, having wireless emergency alerts enabled on their cell phones; these are all reliable ways in order to get information,” says Beckett. “The most important thing is not to rely on any single source. You want to make sure that you have multiple ways to receive those alerts just in case one of those systems happens to fail.”
The second point is to know where to go when a severe weather event occurs. The typical rule to follow is to the make sure to have plenty of barriers between yourself and the outside. That means a basement or an interior room. “You want to make sure you are under something stable, so a table or a set of stairs,” says Beckett, “so that you have protection from above as well.”
When away from home, one should go to designated shelters in public buildings. If outside, try to get into a sturdy building or find a low point on the ground and lie flat. If inside a mobile home or structure with no supports into the ground, leave and find a better shelter.
The third point to follow is to have an emergency kit ready to use for several days. “Food, water, first aid supplies, copies of important documents, extra medications,” says Beckett. “The reason we say 72 hours is because it’s possible that it may take time for first responders and emergency supplies to get distributed throughout the community. Whatever you can do to make sure you are able to remain safe and well provisioned until that help can arrive, the better off you will be.”
Hear more from Andrew Beckett with the interview above.