In cooperation with Kentucky Emergency Management and the National Weather Service, Fayette County recognizes March 1-7, 2018, as “Severe Weather Awareness Week” in Kentucky.
“As we’ve experienced over the past several weeks, Kentucky weather can change drastically over a matter of hours and with those changes, severe weather can develop,” said Pat Dugger, director of Lexington Emergency Management. “Each year we face the dangers of severe weather in many forms; from severe storms that create tornadoes and straight-line winds, to deadly lightning, flooding and severe winter storms. It is important to ensure the safety of Lexington’s residents. Plan ahead now and know what to do when severe weather threatens our community.”
A statewide tornado drill will be conducted in conjunction with severe weather awareness week, Thursday, March 1, 2018, at approximately 10:07 a.m. The National Weather Service and Kentucky Broadcasters Association will issue a tornado warning test message.
Across Kentucky outdoor warning sirens will sound. Weather alert radios will activate. Local television and radio stations will broadcast the alert as will mobile devices. This drill will give citizens the opportunity to practice tornado safety measures. In Lexington, the outdoor warning sirens will sound a test chime, followed by a test announcement.
The broadcast test message will emphasize this is only a test of the alert system. During the test alert, all Kentuckians, businesses, hospitals, nursing homes, educators and government agencies are encouraged to practice their tornado safety drill and update their emergency plan.
Severe weather preparedness begins with knowing severe weather risks:
- Understand the type of hazardous weather that can affect where you live and work, and how the weather can impact you and your family.
- Check the weather forecast regularly. Get a NOAA Weather Radio and sign up for localized alerts from emergency management officials.
- Develop a personal emergency plan that considers all types of local hazards and associated risks.
If you do not have a tornado/severe thunderstorm plan; make one using these guidelines:
- Designate a tornado/severe weather shelter in an interior room on the lowest level of a building, away from windows. Basements are best, but, if there is no basement, choose an interior bathroom, closet or other enclosed space on the lowest level of a building.
- Tell everyone where the designated shelter is and post the location.
- If you live in a mobile home or other manufactured housing, locate the nearest building where you can take shelter in case of a severe storm. NO MOBILE HOME IS A SAFE SHELTER FROM A TORNADO OR SEVERE THUNDERSTORM.
To conduct a tornado drill at home or work:
- Announce the start of the drill.
- Participants should move as quickly as possible to the designated tornado shelter.
- Once in the weather shelter area, participants should crouch as low as possible to the floor, facing down, covering their heads with their hands.
- Wait 5-10 minutes. Then, announce the mock tornado has passed and the drill is complete.
- After the drill, perform an assessment. Determine if the shelter you chose was large enough for everyone. Was it easy to get to and uncluttered.
- Help emergency managers and weather officials improve weather notifications and awareness campaigns by completing a short online survey, available at http://kyem.ky.gov/preparedness/Pages/default.aspx.
During severe weather, if you are caught outdoors and unable to access an indoor shelter, lie flat in a nearby ditch or depression and cover your head with your hands. Be aware of the potential for flooding.
Remember, most outdoor sirens are not designed to warn people indoors and tornadoes also strike during the night. If you are asleep or don’t happen to have a television or radio turned on when a severe weather warning is issued, battery-backed weather alert radios are always on and ready to sound an alarm. This is the most effective way to monitor severe weather watches and warnings at any time of day or night.
Homes and businesses alike should have and monitor weather alert radios which automatically respond and sound off for NWS severe weather watches and warnings 24 hours a day.
If inclement weather is in the forecast on March 1, the Statewide Tornado Drill will be rescheduled.
Residents can access information about the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government by calling LexCall, the city’s centralized service and information contact center. Most telephones can connect to LexCall by simply dialing 3-1-1. The regular number for LexCall is (859) 425-2255 and is answered Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Information about city programs and services is also available via the government website at www.lexingtonky.gov. Citizens may also receive news and information from the city’s Twitter account – @Lexkygov.
Lexington Emergency Management has some new ways for residents to connect with agency emergency and preparedness information. LEXALERTS allows residents to register their cell phone, home phone and email and receive alerts about community emergencies, some severe weather events and other events. The DEAFLINK service provides emergency messaging for the deaf and hard-of-hearing community in the form of videos that provide messaging in American Sign Language. The BeReadyLexington mobile app gives Android and IPhone users access to the latest preparedness and emergency notifications. More information about these services is available from the BeReadyLexington.com website.
Preparedness information is also available via the Lexington Emergency Management Facebook page: @LexingtonKYEM and the Division of Emergency Management Twitter account: @Lexkyem.