For the first time in years, all 17 tornado sirens in Fayette County are currently operational.
“That is fantastic news for our residents,” wrote Fayette County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) Director Melissa Havens via email. “I would remind folks as we head into Severe Weather season, these sirens are an Outdoor Warning System.”
Tornado Sirens are meant to warn people outdoors to go inside—they are not meant to warn people who are already indoors. Although some people may hear the sirens in-doors depending on location, it is normal to not be able to hear the sirens from inside buildings, homes, etc., according to Havens.
For notifications while indoors, Havens recommended purchasing a weather radio or signing up for Nixle.
Nixle is a method of communication where individuals can receive notifications from the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office pertaining to emergency-related information in Fayette County. This includes road closures, unexpected school closings and delays, severe weather notifications, evacuation orders, etc. To sign up, go to www.local.nixle.com/register/ or text the appropriate zip-code to 888777 for mobile alerts.
“Local radio stations are another option,” wrote Havens. “I would recommend having several of these options available so you can stay updated.”
In other news from the local EMA office, weather spotter training is currently not occurring.
“Normally my office would host a weather spotters training course presented by the National Weather Service (NWS) in the Spring. However, the NWS has been ‘grounded’ due to COVID and not allowed to present these trainings in person. If you are still interested in the training, you can go to www.weather.gov/SKYWARN. Towards the bottom of the home page there will be a highlighted link that says, ‘online spotter program.’ Click the link, and it will take you to the online course,” explained Havens.
Residents are encouraged to contact the Fayette County EMA office at 740-335-8264 with any additional questions or concerns regarding severe weather in Fayette County.
As previously reported, ideas for residents to be prepared for severe weather includes: having a kit of emergency supplies, having an emergency response plan that everyone in the household or family knows, and having a way to stay informed.
While the content of emergency kits will vary based on who they are for, some suggested items to consider adding are one gallon of water per person per day, nonperishable but healthy food, pet supplies, flashlight, extra batteries, manual can opener, a first aid kit, radio, filter masks, plastic sheeting, paper towels, wipes, strong tape, three days worth of clean clothes, jacket or coat, toilet paper, a bucket, garbage bags with ties, identification and insurance information, blankets, some cash and at least a three-day supply of medications.
The emergency response plan should cover different types of situations. One example of a situation that should be planned for is if family or household members were to be separated. It is suggested to have a meeting location and a back-up meeting location. It is also important to be certain that all members of the household and family know what the plans are, and several resources suggest having the plans written down. It is also suggested to have a contact person chosen for family members to contact.
There are different ways to stay informed such as a weather radio, the Nixle alert system, fresh batteries for a radio in case of power outages, local news channels, etc.
Havens wrote, “as we say in the business — Don’t be scared, be prepared!”
Reach journalist Jennifer Woods at 740-313-0355.