Lexington Emergency Management encourages residents to “Be Ready, Lexington” during March, Severe Weather Preparedness Month in Fayette County.
“We’re just finishing the bitter cold and snowy winter weather season. It’s important to remember that it’s not over yet,” said Pat Dugger, Director of Lexington Emergency Management. “March can be an especially challenging month with just about any kind of weather on any day. It’s time for residents and people who come to Lexington for work or school to be ready for the types of emergencies that can happen here anytime.”
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, the National Weather Service or local weather authority.
- 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.
Remember, most outdoor sirens are not designed to warn people indoors. You need to make sure you can be alerted to threatening weather if you are indoors. Tornadoes can strike anytime – including at 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.
For Severe Weather Preparedness Month, each week in March has a special theme:
March 5-11: Be aware and stay aware. How to get emergency information and stay aware. In these days of cell phones, computers and staying connected, Lexington Emergency Management wants you to have three ways to get reliable weather information. One of these ways should be a NOAA All-Hazards Weather Radio. If the power goes out and the cell phone network is blocked, the NOAA weather radio will continue to give you the latest weather alerts. Cell phone mobile apps and automatic text messages and email alerts are a good idea as well.
March 12-18: Make and update your personal/family emergency plan. Write down important phone numbers in case your cell phone doesn’t work. Keep a copy of those numbers in a safe place and also in an email to yourself, or an online or “cloud” storage system. Choose an out-of-town emergency contact and share that phone number and email address with other family members. Your emergency contact should be able to receive text messages, emails as well as voice calls. There’s more about personal/family emergency plans at BeReadyLexington.com/make-a-plan.
March 19-25: Build/update your emergency kit. Make sure your kit contains a first aid kit, battery-powered radio, a flashlight with extra batteries, water and food for three days. Add a change of clothes, work boots and gloves, cleaning and hygiene items and other items that you decide are necessary. Make a kit for your home, workplace and vehicle. If you have pets, build an emergency kit for them as well.
March 26-30: Get involved. People can get involved with emergency preparedness in many different ways. Donate Blood. Take a first aid or CPR class. Get involved with one of the Citizens Academy classes given by the Lexington Police or Fire departments. You can apply to be one of the Emergency Management Citizen Emergency Response Team. It takes nine weeks of classes to finish up with this one, but it’s well worth it.
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.