How to prepare for severe weather
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - With severe weather threats into the overnight hours expected on Saturday, experts said you need to get prepared now.
“We are always concerned about nocturnal weather events,” Jefferson County EMA official Melissa Sizemore said. “Alabama is the leading state in tornado deaths per capita in the United States and because you have these nocturnal storms pushing through, that increases a higher risk for that.”
Sizemore said the first step in staying safe is making sure you have multiple ways to get weather alerts.
“The key piece is to make sure you have something that is going to wake you up from sleep,” she said. “Your wireless emergency alerts are enabled and you’re not using do not disturb, because if you are using do not disturb, your phone is not going to sound.”
The county has 255 storm sirens, but she said waiting to hear them should not be your main plan.
“They are actually utilized for outdoor warning use only,” Sizemore said. “They aren’t meant to be heard indoors. When you factor in ambient noise, thunderstorm noise, things like that, it is going making it difficult to hear those sirens, especially at night. They aren’t going to wake you up from sleep.”
Sizemore said if you do have to quickly seek shelter in your house, find a spot on the lowest level and leave as many walls between you and the outside as possible. She said put an emergency bag in the room before the storm starts
“Pillows, blankets, couch cushions, bike helmet,” Sizemore said. “If you don’t have a bike helmet, I always encourage to think out of the box. You can put a pot on your head just to protect your noggin, and your spine. Pack extra pairs of shoes and some clothes.”
“We want people to take these warnings seriously,” Sizemore said.
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