Severe weather is common during this time of the year. Are you prepared?

The Douglas County Emergency Management Office helps residents, business owners, nonprofits, schools, churches, local governments, and others plan for and recover from severe weather.

Every year in April local emergency management offices partner with the National Weather Service for a week to highlight important information that will improve survival of a tornado or severe storm and make recovery more efficient.

“Our lives change every year, and that means we must adapt our severe weather plan every year,” said Douglas County Emergency Management Director Julie Anderson. “We all need to think about what changed: Did we move, did we have a baby, did a parent transition to a home with no basement? How will these changes affect our ability to quickly react to severe weather?”

Planning includes:

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  • Creating, and storing in a good location, an emergency supply kit with water (three gallons per person), flashlight, snacks, whistle to alert authorities, first aid kit, tools to shut off utilities, cell phone charger, small amounts of life-saving prescription medicine.

  • Determining the safest room in the home – basement, interior room with no windows, lowest level of apartment building.

  • When taking shelter inside, protection from falling or flying debris. Take cover under a heavy table if possible, crouch low to the floor, cover yourself with thick padding or blankets and cover your head with your hands.

  • How to respond when outdoors: Seek shelter in a sturdy building. If no shelter is available, lie flat and face-down on low ground. Protect the back of your head with your arms. Get as far away from trees and cars as you can.

  • Getting out of a mobile home. When warnings are issued, go to the provided storm shelter. If no shelter is available, move away from the mobile home and vehicles and lie flat protecting your head.

“Practice your plan. See how long it takes to really take cover,” said Anderson. “Ask your church or workplace to practice a tornado drill. Is there a better, faster, way to move people from Point A to Point B? You’ll learn by doing.”

Severe Weather Awareness Week begins Monday, April 12 and runs through Friday, April 16.

On Thursday, April 15, a statewide tornado drill will take place. At 1:45 p.m. and 6:45 p.m., outdoor warning sirens will sound. These sirens are located across the county and are owned by the cities and townships. They are designed to be heard when outdoors, not inside.

Recovery includes:

  • Maintaining insurance information and contacts so they can be accessed even if a property is destroyed. Sharing information with a family member is an option.

  • Reporting extensively damaged homes and businesses to local government so it can assess the overall severity and work with Douglas County Emergency Management.

  • Checking local media and Douglas County website for information on services available during recovery and how to access those services.

“No one should feel alone following a damaging severe weather event,” says Anderson. “There are many people and resources available to help. We just need to know who needs what kind of assistance.”

About Severe Weather Awareness Week

Check Douglas County website and social media, along with local media, each day for these topics:

Monday – alerts and warnings

Tuesday – severe weather, lightning and hail

Wednesday – floods

Thursday – tornadoes

Friday – extreme heat