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Preparing for the worst
Preparing for the worst
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It would be difficult not to notice that Kansas has entered into the erratic weather season once again, as we bounce from 70s, down to the low 20s, back to the 60s in the course of a day or two.
So it’s a time of the year when Emergency Management Director Amy Miller is working to get information out to the public about how to be ready for weather emergencies.
One was she has worked on that was by helping with the recent attended the Integrated Warning Team meeting in Great Bend, she reported. 
“Emergency management officials, staff from the National Weather Service Office in Wichita, and media meteorologists met to discuss ways to improve ‘getting the information out’ about severe weather to the public. 
“It provided an opportunity for the attendees to discuss how they obtain weather information and how to quickly share that information between the participants and the public. 
“The end product of the meeting was to work on providing a consistent and timely severe weather message to the public,” Miller noted.
One way that the information will be spread to the public across the state is through the annual “Storm Fury on the Plains,” a storm identification and safety presentation from the Wichita NWS office. 
The local presentation is planned for March 31, and more information will be released closer to the date.
Miller also worked with local officials and county staff on a recent “tabletop exercise” that was designed to raise discussion about the county’s capability for facing natural disasters.
“The exercise was based on documents provided by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, Bureau of Public Health Preparedness. 
“Local officials were able to add content to the exercise that applies to each facility and county that utilizes the basic planning documents. 
“The exercise scenario included a multiple day winter storm and a multiple injury vehicle accident,” Miller explained.
She added it involved Clara Barton Hospital and Clinic personnel, employees from the City of Hoisington, and employees from Barton County.
“For this particular exercise, the capabilities tested included communications, medical surge, incident management and public information. 
“Exercises provide the opportunity for agencies, facilities, and individuals to test their capabilities and identity areas which perform well or may need additional planning, education or resources. 
“After an exercise, data is collected from the players’ responses and then used to compile an ‘After Action Report’ which includes improvement planning,” Miller explained.