Our lifetimes consist of a series of "Remember where you were when" moments.  For my parents, they could tell you exactly where they were and who they were with when President Kennedy was assassinated.  For me, I can remember where I was when the attempt was made on Ronald Reagan's life.  Of course, the tragedy of 9/11 sits at the forefront of this conversation.  And for Sedalians, we near the 1 year anniversary of the tornado that struck town on May 25, 2011.

The amazing story about this storm is that for the amount of damage that was done, there was no loss of life.  Equally amazing was the quickness of action by our emergency response teams in Pettis County.  Here we are, getting ready for another storm season.  This seems a fitting time to remind everyone of what it takes to be as prepared as you can be for the severe weather of our area.

First, pay attention to the warnings.  There are sirens posted throughout town to let you know if severe weather is imminent and of course, we will keep you up to date on the air.  As for actions you should take, the following was taken from the NOAA National Weather Service:

  • If you're in a house with a basement, go there.  Try to avoid being directly under heavy objects on the floor above and cover yourself with a mattress or something similar if you have it.  Of course, protecting your head is the main thing.
  • If you're in a house without a basement, avoid windows and get to a room in the center of the house.  Same holds true for apartments and dorms.  Of course, you should avoid windows and protect your head as best you can.
  • If you find yourself in a public building during a weather event, most have emergency procedures posted.  Take an extra minute out of your day to become familiar with where in the building to go in case of emergency.
  • If you're in a mobile home, you are not safe.  Go to a local storm shelter. There are FEMA approved shelters throughout Pettis County.  Be familiar with the one nearest you.
  • Schools run regular drills for fire and severe weather.  Just follow the drill.
  • In an automobile, there is no safe place, but you can cut down on the danger level by parking, keeping your seat belt on and lowering your head below the level of the windows.  Only leave your car if you can safely get to noticeably lower ground.  Then make yourself as small as possible by crouching.  Avoid seeking shelter under bridges. They're a false sense of security.   The same holds true if you just happen to be caught outdoors.

With the crazy weather patterns we've been having lately, you simply cannot be too prepared.