The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

March 6, 2013

Prepare now for spring storms


DANVILLE — Despite the snowfall on the area in recent days, Illinois officials today will practice what to do when severe weather such as a tornado sweeps into the state. Warning sirens are scheduled to be tested at 10 a.m. today.

Midwestern residents know it can snow one day and turn into severe thunderstorms the next.

The key, say the experts at the Federal Emergency Management Agency and other emergency response organizations, is to be prepared.

Families should sit down together and work out a plan if severe weather should hit their area.

Family members should know how to contact one another if storms blow in, and what to do if others cannot be reached. Younger family members should know what to do if they are separated from their parents. Everyone should know what kind of buildings offer the best safety.

Every family also should have an emergency kit in their home. It should contain such things as flashlights and extra batteries, a radio with extra batteries, first aid supplies, enough food and water for each family member for up to three days, and extra clothing or bedding.

The kit should be stored in a secure place, and all family members should know where it is and how to use what it contains.

Families also need to place safe places for important papers or valuables such as jewelry. A tornado and shred a house in moments, so the time to store all the important things away in now before the thunder starts to roll.

Staying aware of weather conditions and how they might change is a key step in staying safe. Deciding how to react now when warnings go up later can make a great deal of difference in a family’s safety.