CENTRAL JACKSON COUNTY, Mo. – The National Weather Service holds Severe Weather Awareness Week every year to preparedness for severe weather emergencies year-round. This year, the Central Jackson County Emergency Management Agency (CJCEMA) encourages residents to participate in Severe Weather Awareness Week, March 2-6, 2015, to learn severe weather safety including how to prepare for tornadoes, lightning, floods and more.
CJCEMA will move its normal monthly test of the outdoor warning system this month to coincide with the statewide tornado drill on Tuesday, March 3, at 1:30 p.m.
“The best time to prepare for a disaster is before it happens,” said Todd Farley, CJCEMA Emergency Manager. “We encourage everyone participate in this test—whether at home, school or work. It’s important to practice seeking secure, safe shelter from severe weather.”
• CodeRED Emergency Notification & Weather Warning System Residents in the CJCEMA region can also sign up for CodeRED Emergency Notification & Weather Warning System. This system allows us to notify residents of emergency situations that require immediate action. The Weather Warning System is a severe weather early warning service that will call your contact number and deliver an alert message shortly after a warning is issued by the National Weather Service for your area. To sign up, visit www.bluespringsgov.com/codered or www.cjcfpd.org and click on the upper right hand corner of the page. You can also sign up by calling the CodeRED hotline at (816) 220-2633.
• Have Several Forms of Severe Weather Notification Do not depend solely on one method of notification. Commercial media and internet services provide information when you are awake, but do little when you are asleep. Outdoor warning sirens were designed to warn people outdoors and were not intended to be heard indoors. NOAA All-Hazard Weather Radios provide 24 hour a day notification of severe weather at home and at work. All-Hazard radios are programmable to the county that you live in, to alert you day or night when severe weather is in your area. Many of these devices have back-up battery power and will function during power outages.
Tornado Safety Tips:
• In Homes or Small Buildings Go to the basement (if available) or to an interior room on the lowest floor, such as a closet or bathroom. Upper floors are unsafe. If there is no time to descend, go to a closet, a small room with strong walls, or an inside hallway. Wrap yourself in overcoats or blankets to protect yourself from flying debris.
• In Schools, Hospitals, Factories or Shopping Centers Go to interior rooms and halls on the lowest floor. Stay away from rooms with windows and areas with wide-span roofs such as auditoriums and warehouses. Crouch down and cover your head. Don't take shelter in halls that open to the south or the west. Centrally-located stairwells are good shelter.
• In High-Rise Buildings Go to interior small rooms or halls. Stay away from exterior walls or windows.
• In Mobile Homes Abandon them immediately! Most deaths occur in cars and mobile homes. If you are in either of those locations, leave them and go to a substantial structure or designated tornado shelter.
• In Vehicles If possible, drive away from the threat. If not, get into a sturdy shelter (building). As a last resort, you need to make a personal decision whether to ride it out in your car hunched down below the windows with your seatbelt on, or to lie flat in the nearest ditch or depression with your hands covering your head.
The CJCEMA is an emergency management agency consisting of the Central Jackson County Fire Protection District, the City of Blue Springs, Grain Valley, Lake Tapawingo and surrounding unincorporated areas. The EOC is located at the Central Jackson County Fire Protection District’s Training Facility and brings together representatives from Police, Fire, Public Works and Emergency Management agencies.
Follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/CJCEMA or become "fans" of CJCEMA's Facebook page at www.facebook.com/cjcema.