Severe Weather Awareness Week is set for March 4 through March 8 and the Lee’s Summit Fire Department, in conjunction with the State Emergency Management Agency and the National Weather Service in Pleasant Hill, will conduct a statewide tornado drill at 1:30 p.m. March 5.
The campaign for Severe Weather Awareness Week is intended to increase public awareness about severe weather and tornadoes.
Locally the Lee’s Summit Fire Department will activate the outdoor storm warning sirens, announce the exercise over the Emergency Broadcast Radio System, and send a message to Nixle.com subscribers. The National Weather Service will also activate the NOAA All-Hazards Weather Radio, and the Emergency Alert System (EAS). In the event of inclement weather on the day of the exercise, the drill will be conducted at 1:30 p.m. March 7.
All schools, businesses and residents are encouraged to participate in the exercise by practicing their severe weather and shelter procedures. The safest shelter location is in the lowest level of the building in an interior room without windows. Other school or business safe locations are basements, hallways without windows, under staircases and designated tornado safe rooms. Once everyone is accounted for, the drill is over.
Tips to remember in case of severe weather:
HAVE SEVERAL FORMS OF SEVERE WEATHER NOTIFICATION: Do not depend solely on one method of notification. Commercial media and internet services provide information when you are awake, but do little when you are asleep. Outdoor warning sirens were designed to warn people outdoors and were not intended to be heard indoors. NOAA all-hazard weather radios provide 24-hour-a-day notification of severe weather at home and at work. All-hazard radios are programmable to the county that you live in, to alert you day or night when severe weather is in your area. Many of these devices have back-up battery power and will function during power outages.
IN HOMES OR SMALL BUILDINGS: Go to the basement (if available) or to an interior room on the lowest floor, such as a closet or bathroom. Upper floors are unsafe. If there is no time to descend, go to a closet, a small room with strong walls, or an inside hallway. Wrap yourself in overcoats or blankets to protect yourself from flying debris.
IN SCHOOLS, HOSPITALS, FACTORIES, OR SHOPPING CENTERS: Go to interior rooms and halls on the lowest floor. Stay away from glass enclosed places or areas with wide-span roofs such as auditoriums and warehouses. Crouch down and cover your head. Don’t take shelter in halls that open to the south or the west. Centrally-located stairwells are good shelter.
IN HIGH-RISE BUILDINGS: Go to interior small rooms or halls. Stay away from exterior walls or glassy areas.
IN MOBILE HOMES: ABANDON THEM IMMEDIATELY. Most deaths occur in cars and mobile homes. If you are in either of those locations, leave them and go to a substantial structure or designated tornado shelter.
IN VEHICLES: IF POSSIBLE, DRIVE AWAY. If not, get into a sturdy shelter (building). As a last resort, you need to make a personal decision whether to ride it out in your car hunched down below the windows with your seat belt, or to lie flat in the nearest ditch or depression with your hands covering your head.
IF NO SUITABLE STRUCTURE IS NEARBY: Lie flat in the nearest ditch or depression and use your hands to cover your head, or remain in your vehicle with your seat belt fastened, crouching down below the window. These options should be considered last resorts.
DURING A TORNADO: Absolutely avoid buildings with large free-span roofs. Stay away from west and south walls. Remember, seek shelter on the lowest level, go to the smallest room, and center part of the building.
For more information on how to prepare for severe weather and weather safety tips go to www.crh.noaa.gov, or contact the Lee’s Summit Fire Department at 816- 969-1300.