Time to prepare

This week marks an opportunity to prepare for whatever Mother Nature throws at us next. As spring weather eventually makes its way, chances are we’ll have a taste of at least some of Iowa’s flare – thunderstorms, high winds, flooding, hail and funnel clouds.

Every year in the United States, hundreds of people are killed and thousands injured because of the weather.

Severe Weather Awareness Week is Monday through Friday, with the highlight of the week being the statewide tornado drill on Wednesday.

The Marshall County Communications Center will be participating by sounding tornado sirens at approximately 10:15 a.m. Area businesses are encouraged to carry out tornado drill practices at this time.

As businesses and schools have concrete plans regarding severe weather evacuations and preparedness plans, it’s also important to develop and practice plans in your home. Oftentimes, children know what steps to take if they are in their classroom, but not their family room.

When you are in the middle of a crisis, there is no time to plan a response. Planning in advance is the best protection.

This week we should all take a moment to talk to our families about an emergency plan. Children must be made aware of evacuation plans, whom to contact should the family be separated during an emergency and when to call 911.

Likewise, weather radios should be programmed. Weather radios broadcast official weather warnings, watches and forecasts 24/7. It’s a good idea to program your radio to the area to pick up warnings and watches. It’s also a good time to find a reliable severe weather app for your Smartphone.

Being prepared also means being equipped with the right supplies. The American Red Cross offers suggestions and checklists to prepare your home and family for a disaster, as well as recommendations for building and emergency supply kit. Visit www.redcross.org for more information.

We never expect severe weather to directly impact us. Being prepared for the unforeseen isn’t something we should take lightly. This week please take an opportunity to communicate, prepare and practice your plans to stay safe when severe weather strikes.