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Salina Participating In Statewide Tornado Drill

KSAL Staff - March 3, 2014 5:00 pm

The storm dropped a large tornado west of Interstate 135 in rural Ottawa County. (Cirrus Weather photo by Jerry Schumacher)

A statewide tornado drill in Kansas is planned for Tuesday afternoon.

The event is part of severe weather awareness week. The statewide drill is scheduled for 1:30 Tuesday afternoon. Every school, citizen and business is encouraged to participate in the drill by practicing seeking secure, safe shelter as if this were a real warning.

Saline County will participate in the drill. Saline County Emergency Management will activate the Outdoor Warning Sirens within the County. This drill will also take place over the NOAA weather radios throughout the State.

The Saline County Emergency Management Office urges residents and businesses not to rely on the outdoor warning sirens when indoors. Each year they emphasize the fact that the Outdoor Sirens are just that, an outdoor warning system for citizens who are outside during severe weather to warn them to take cover. Local media outlets and All Hazards NOAA Weather Radios are your best sources for information concerning severe weather watches and warnings.

Testing of the Outdoor Warning Sirens occurs in Saline County on the 1st Monday of each month, weather permitting. If weather conditions are poor, the test is rescheduled for the 2nd Monday of the month. If weather conditions are poor again, then the test is postponed to the next month.

According to the National Weather Service, Kansas had 56 tornadoes in 2013, including 15 in one day; 45 of those tornadoes hit in May. However, Angee Morgan, deputy director of the Kansas Division of Emergency Management, said that does not mean May is the most dangerous month for severe weather.

“Our first tornado hit April 7 in Russell County,” said Morgan. “The last one was August 13 in Lane County. That’s 128 days from the first to the last. And although 2013 was the quietest season since 1994, that doesn’t mean this season will be the same. Our advice is to always be prepared.”

Morgan said a home emergency kit should include everything needed for each family member to survive for a minimum of three days without power. Kits should include one gallon of water per person per day; nonperishable, high energy foods; a battery powered NOAA weather radio; flashlights; extra batteries; a safe, alternate heat source; blankets; medications and other essentials. Additional information about preparing an emergency kit may be found online at www.ksready.gov.

Morgan also advised everyone to have emergency plan for their home or place of business and ensure that everyone knows the plan.

“If you don’t have a storm shelter, make sure you know where the nearest shelter is,” said Morgan. “Designate a place to meet in case you become separated or how you will communicate if land lines and cell phone towers are knocked out. Review safety rules regarding downed power lines and broken gas lines. Once you have your plan in place, practice it so everyone knows what to do.”

To help get more people involved in emergency preparedness, KDEM has instituted an online “Kansas Preparedness Challenge.” Completing each monthly challenge makes participants eligible for a prize drawing. Go to www.ksready.gov and click on the “Kansas Preparedness Challenge” link to get started.

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