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Mar 04

Severe Weather Preparedness

Posted on March 4, 2022 at 10:24 AM by Kristy Bansemer

“Absence of evidence doesn’t mean the absence of risk.” In other words, just because we have not had a major weather event recently does not mean the potential is not present.

During the last couple hundred years, or even during our lifetime, we have seen minor cyclical changes in weather patterns. Kansas, once known for being the heart of tornado alley, has had a reprieve in recent years and not having a recent tornado event is a challenge to preparedness and may leave us complacent. Derby Fire & Rescue recognizes this and would like to issue a challenge by recommending that residents take the following actions by March 25.

First, make sure you have multiple ways to receive severe weather alerts, do not rely on just one.

  • Check the settings on your phone and ensure the Emergency Alerts are on.
  • Make sure your phone’s weather app settings allow you to receive severe weather alerts.
  • Have your NOAA weather radio on and make sure you have fresh batteries.
  • Monitor local TV news, radio, or trusted Internet sources for up-to-date information.

Second, identify a shelter location in your home, business, or neighborhood now; do not wait until severe weather is imminent. Basements, interior rooms with no exterior walls, and bathtubs are good places to seek shelter in a tornado emergency. Try to find a reinforced shelter if caught outdoors. If in your car, never seek shelter under an overpass. If you leave your car, seek refuge in the ditch, get as low as possible, hold on to something sturdy, and cover your head.

Third, build or buy a disaster kit to keep in your shelter. Add basic provisions such as non-perishable food, drinking water, a flashlight, radio, batteries, and a battery phone charger. Think about specialty needs items like prescription medication, baby formula, diapers, and pet care items.

Do not let severe weather take you by surprise. Stay informed, have a plan, and prepare your shelter. As always, check on your neighbors and the most vulnerable in our community to ensure they are prepared as well.

Jon Marr
Derby Volunteer Firefighter  
Deputy Director, Sedgwick County Emergency Management

Published in The Derby Informer on March 2, 2022.