Even though the temperatures are still dipping low enough to want to snuggle in a warm blanket, we need to start preparing for this season’s round of severe weather.
Anytime is a good time to make a severe weather preparedness kit. You should put together necessary items such as a good flashlight with extra batteries, a radio that will operate on batteries, drinking water for a couple of days and your important medications. Make sure these items are either stored where you might take shelter during severe weather or kept where it is easy to grab and go.
It’s also a good time to discuss with your family what to do if sirens begin sounding. Talk with your kids about what actions you want them to take if the sirens sound when they are at their friend’s house or at a local park.
Severe Weather Week is March 5-9. Sirens will sound for the statewide tornado drill on March 6 at 10:00 a.m. This is a perfect time to practice with your family what to do if the sirens sound.
On March 20, a Severe Weather Safety Program will be hosted by Derby Fire and Police at the Derby Public Library from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. This training is free of charge and presented by Sedgwick County Emergency Management.
Remember, our outdoor warning sirens only sound in the part of Sedgwick County affected by a storm. If sirens are sounding in Derby, then either a funnel cloud has been sighted in our area, or conditions are very likely to produce a tornado. You should take cover immediately. As long as sirens are sounding, stay under cover. Wait for the sirens to quit sounding.
Derby offers a list of shelters that will open if severe weather is approaching and you live in a place that doesn’t have a shelter or basement or you are caught out away from home. Shelter locations can be found at www.DerbyKS.com/Shelters. If you have a pet, the shelter at Fire Station 82 (Rock Road near Meadowlark) is currently the only storm shelter that allows pets. We are working with other neighborhood partners to add more shelters, so check the site regularly for updates.
As always, if you have questions about severe weather issues, contact us by calling 316-788-4435, email at BradSmith@derbyweb.com, or connect with us on Facebook.
Published in the Derby Informer on Feb. 21, 2018.