Ozark, AL - The weather radio goes off, you get a text alert, or you see the map pop up at the corner of your screen with a warning. It may be a thunderstorm, flash flood, or a tornado has been spotted near you.
What will you do next?
Ideally, you wouldn’t wait until a warning was issued to talk about a plan. Experts say being proactive could make the difference in saving a life.
“You don’t get a whole lot of warning on those. We do issue warning for severe thunderstorms, but a lot of times you only have a few minutes to take action. Those severe thunderstorms can produce straight line winds that can be just as damaging as a tornado,” said Dale County Emergency Management Agency Director Robert Marsh.
Just last April a tornado ripped through northern Alabama killing hundreds. If a similar storm was moving your direction, experts say you need a plan.
“I’d stay inside of the house. I would not be outside because I’m scared to go outside. I’m going to get somewhere and stay out of it,” said Mary Robinson, Ozark.
“I’ve got a fly-away kit. My wife and myself, we both take medication. So it’s in there. You need water and you need a radio. Get your cell phone and be ready to move out,” said David Rayner, Ozark.
They are on the right track.
First make a kit. Water, food, flashlight, batteries, first aid kit, whistle, local maps, sturdy shoes, and important documents are a few things you should include.
Then, where will you go during a storm?
Pick an interior room on the lowest level of your home. You want as many walls as possible between you and the outside.
If a storm hits, you need to have a designated area to meet. It could be at the corner of your street or in a nearby parking lot.
Most importantly, decide now.
“Once the damage occurs, that is not the time to plan. That time is already over. It’s better to sit down in a calm environment and think these things out in advance and practice it,” said Marsh.
You need to also consider how you are being informed about weather warnings. Relying strictly on sirens is not enough.
NOAA weather radios are a great tool. You can also sign up for text alerts from WTVY.