Statewide storm drill today
The Kansas statewide tornado drill is scheduled for 10 a.m. on today with the sirens sound in Barton County as well.
Citizens are encouraged to participate safely while following local health and safety guidelines, then they are asked to consider participate by sheltering-in-place or discussing sheltering options/plans with co-workers and/or family members, said Emergency Manager Amy Miller.
Noting it is that time of year when weather can change on dime, the Barton County Commission Monday morning declared this as Severe Weather Awareness Week to encourage residents to plan and prepare for a life-threatening severe weather event.
Severe Weather Awareness Week, March 1–5, is a cooperative effort of the National Weather Service and the Kansas Emergency Management Association. “Barton County Emergency Management would like to remind everyone to be prepared for the spring severe weather season,” said Emergency Manager Amy Miller.
The proclamation encourages individuals, businesses and communities to plan and prepare for an emergency.
“Severe spring weather in Kansas includes tornadoes, flooding and flash floods, severe thunderstorms, large hail, lightning, wildfires and drought,” Miller said. “All citizens are encouraged to take responsibility for their personal safety, listen for severe weather warnings, and develop business and family safety plans.”
Barton County citizens are reminded that severe weather information is provided by advisories, watches and warnings and provided to the public on radio, television, text messages, Internet, and NOAA Weather Radio, she said, But there is more to bring ready.
“The sirens are outdoor warnings only,” she said. Those indoors should utilize other methods of staying alerted.
The Sheriff’s Office may make the rounds in rural areas to warn residents, but this depends on the time and availability of deputies, Sheriff Brian Bellendir said.
Also, there may be a problem for those who followed storm alerts via law enforcement radio scanners, he said. With the conversion to the 800 MHz radio system in the county, older scanners will not work.
Other safety steps
“Individuals and families are encouraged to build a go kit,” she said. These kits should include water, non-perishable food, flashlight, whistle, blanket, medical supplies, and other personal care items for every family member, including their pets.
In addition, everyone should also plan for after the storm by having a home inventory, contact numbers for insurance companies, and a family communications plan. All citizens, businesses and schools are also encouraged to prepare and practice personal safety plans.
A good start is to participate in the tornado drill scheduled for 10 a.m. on Tuesday, Miller said. And if citizens are unable to participate safely while following local health and safety guidelines, then they are asked to consider participate by sheltering-in-place or discussing sheltering options/plans with co-workers and/or family members.
People are urged to keep COVID-19 in mind when rehearsing their plans, Miller said. They should stay socially distanced and wear masks.
For those uncomfortable about gathering should at least review their plans and check their emergency supplies.
“It doesn’t take long for storms to develop,” said Commission Chairman Jim Daily, District 4, noting the importance of planning.