Sheldon, Iowa — This is Severe Weather Awareness Week in Iowa. Each day this week, the National Weather Service is focusing on a different severe weather topic.
Today’s topic is family preparedness.
Disasters of all kinds disrupt hundreds of thousands of lives every year. FEMA and the National Weather Service say that each disaster has lasting effects, both to people and property. If a disaster occurs in your community, local government and disaster-relief organizations will try to help you, but you need to be ready as well. Local responders may not be able to reach you immediately, or they may need to focus their efforts elsewhere. Being prepared for a disaster can reduce fear, anxiety, and losses that accompany disasters.
According to FEMA, There are five key elements to a disaster plan:
- Learn about possible dangers in your area and become familiar with your community’s disaster response plan. Common disasters in Iowa include flooding, severe thunderstorms and tornadoes.
- Talk to your family about what to do in the event of an emergency. Pick two locations where you will meet: one close to your home and another removed from your neighborhood to be used if you are unable to return to your residence.
- Develop a crisis communications plan to insure that your family will be able to stay in contact if you are separated during a disaster.
- Create emergency preparedness kits for your home, office and car.
- Practice your plan.
Todd Heitkamp with the National Weather Service says it’s important to communicate your severe weather and disaster plans with your family.
For more information about what to keep in a disaster kit and a first aid kit, developing your family evacuation plan, preparing your home and just generally being prepared for disasters, click here for the National Weather Service’s Family Preparedness Pamphlet.
Speaking of being prepared, this is also the day for the statewide tornado drill. Sirens were to have sounded yesterday, but due to the potential for actual severe weather in the state, it was postponed to today.
While these times are not strictly followed — the test tornado watch is scheduled to be issued at 10 AM. The test tornado warning is scheduled for 10:15, and it’s scheduled to end by 10:30 AM. Outdoor warning sirens, weather radios, cell phones, fire pagers, and the like will sound in many communities. The label of the warning will actually say “tornado warning”, but the body of the warning will indicate that it’s a test for drill purposes.