MARCH IS SEVERE STORMS PREPAREDNESS MONTH FOR FAYETTE COUNTY
By John Bobel
Severe weather can happen during any month of the year in Fayette County, but March is particularly hazard-prone. That’s why the Lexington Division of Emergency Management designates March as Severe Storms Preparedness Month.
“March weather is especially unpredictable,” says Patricia Dugger, Director of Lexington’s Division of Emergency Management. “Last year, Fayette County experienced near record snowfalls during the month.
“Four years ago, an outbreak of high winds and tornadoes skipped over Lexington and devastated West Liberty and several other Kentucky communities. We can experience just about any type of severe weather in March.”
It’s important that people know what to do before, during and after severe weather:
BEFORE SEVERE WEATHER STRIKES:
Be Aware – Identify several sources of weather information that you can access at home, at work, at school or while in the car. Check those sources at least twice a day – more frequently if severe weather is predicted.
Get a NOAA All-Hazards Weather Radio and keep it turned on. Make sure the weather radio back-up batteries are replaced twice a year so it keeps working if the power goes out.
Make a Plan – Think ahead and decide where you’d go to meet if family members couldn’t go home in case of an emergency. Designate an out-of-town friend or relative as an emergency family contact. Make a printed list of important phone numbers and give copies to family members. Make copies of important documents that you can quickly grab and take with you if you have to evacuate your home.
Build a Kit – During an emergency, you and family members need to be prepared to go it alone for the first 72 hours. An emergency kit has food, water, clothing, blankets, first aid supplies, flashlights and an AM/FM radio with extra batteries.
Get Involved – Take a CPR and/or first aid class. Become a member of Lexington’s Community Emergency Response Team. Get to know your neighbors so if there’s an emergency or disaster, you can help each other through the response and recovery tasks.
More about emergency preparedness is available at BeReadyLexington.com.
DURING SEVERE WEATHER OUTBREAKS
Stay indoors – Postpone or cancel outdoor activities and non-essential travel.
Know where to go – Know where your storm shelter or “safe” room is in your home, at work or at school.
Stuck in a car? – Locate a sturdy building and take shelter indoors. Do NOT stop at underpasses or bridges. Wind speeds increase near these structures.
In a mobile home/manufactured housing? – Evacuate as soon as possible. Take shelter in a building with a strong foundation or an approved storm shelter.
Remember – Basements, inner rooms and storm cellars provide the best protection during a severe thunderstorm or tornado. Stay away from doors and windows.
AFTER SEVERE WEATHER OUTBREAKS
If injured, seek medical care. Help others who may be trapped or injured if it can be done safely.
Stay away from all downed utility lines. They may still present a shock hazard even if they don’t “spark” on the ground. Report downed/broken utility lines to authorities.
Stay out of damaged buildings and away from buildings surrounded by floodwaters.
Wear sturdy shoes and work gloves when entering buildings.Watch for loose plaster, ceiling tiles or ceilings and walls that could fall.
Look for fire hazards and beware of possible gas, water or gasoline/oil leaks.
Take pictures of any damage to structures and property.
More information about emergency preparedness is available from the Division of Emergency Management website: BeReadyLexington.com. Information and alerts from the division are also available through the DEM Facebook page: LexingtonKYEM and the DEM Twitter account: @lexkyem.