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Storm spotter school is open to everyone

POSTED March 25, 2011 4:07 p.m.

Local storm spotters, public safety officials and the public will gather this week to learn more about how to keep the community safe during severe storm season.
According the Emergency Risk Manager Amy Miller, Thursday will bring an official storm spotter school to Great Bend, but it’s not just for spotters. The free program is also open to the public, Miller stressed.
“Storm Fury on the Plains” will be presented by experts from the Wichita National Weather Service office. The local presentation is set for 3 and 6:30 p.m. Thursday in the Crest Theater, 1905 Lakin in downtown Great Bend.
According to the NWS, the event is entertaining, as well as educational.
“The National Weather Service in Wichita conducts spotter training sessions, which are normally scheduled throughout the spring months each year. Attendees are taught the basics of thunderstorm development, storm structure, the features to look for, and where to find them. What, when and how to report information as well as basic severe weather safety are also covered,” according to the NWS information.
“The session is a multi-media presentation, which includes detailed video. These spotter classes typically take about 1 1/2 to 2 hours, and are open to the public. No prior experience is required, and there is no registration necessary to attend.”
State officials are emphasizing the need for the public to be better equipped to help deal with emergencies.
“With storm season upon us, it is the responsibility of every Kansan to make sure he is prepared,” Maj. Gen. Lee Tafanelli, director of the Kansas Division of Emergency Management said earlier.
“Our first responders do heroic work in the face of disasters, but each Kansan can make the responders jobs a little safer and easier if we all make sure we have a well-stocked emergency kit and a practical emergency plan that every family member knows.”
In 2010, Kansas communities suffered through 88 tornadoes, strong damaging winds, very heavy rain and large hail, significant flash flooding or other extremes.
Fortunately, there was no loss of life attributable to Kansas tornadoes in 2010, state officials noted.
One push that state and local emergency officials are making this year, is to encourage everyone to prepare an emergency kit, which includes emergency clothing, food, water and medical supplies, just in case they become necessary,
Kansans live with the threat of severe weather year round.
All Kansans are urged to practice their own severe weather safety plan at home, Although the threat of a tornado seems to receive the most attention, thunderstorms and high winds frequently cause more damage and occur more often than tornadoes.
Flooding, particularly flash flooding claims the lives of more people than any other weather emergency, the safety experts warn. For that reason, common sense is important. Stay out of moving water. Do not cross barricades. And wait until emergency personnel deem it safe to travel in flash flood conditions.

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