Severe Weather Preparedness

Although the first day of spring is still a few weeks away, students in the Knox County Public Schools are practicing what to do in the event of severe weather.

Agencies and individuals across Kentucky participated in a statewide tornado drill held on Tuesday, March 5.   The drill is part of Severe Weather Awareness Month, proclaimed by Governor Steve Beshear for the month of March.

The actions and procedures followed during Tuesday’s drill were not new for Knox students,  schools in the district practice emergency drills on a regular basis.

“Our emergency management team routinely practices drills and reviews procedures in our schools,” stated Frank Shelton, public information officer for the district.

“Each month our students practice a fire, tornado, or non-weather related emergency drill in an effort to increase their knowledge of what to do should something happen while they are at school or at home.”

Knox County Emergency Management Director Mike Mitchell stresses that schools and families should have a game plan in place should severe weather strike.  He offers these suggestions for families:

If thunder roars, go indoors – no place outside is safe when lightening is in the area. Stay indoors until 30 minutes have passed after the last clap of thunder.

Lighting Safety Tips

• Avoid contact with corded phones.

• Avoid contact with electrical equipment or cords.

• Avoid contact with plumbing – do not wash your hands, take a shower, wash dishes or laundry.

• Stay away from windows and doors and stay off porches.

• Do not lie on concrete floors or lean against concrete walls.

Guidelines for what you should do if thunderstorms are likely in your area:

• Postpone outdoor activities.

• Get inside a home, building, or hard top automobile (not a convertible).

• Remember, rubber-soled shoes and rubber tires provide NO protection from lighting. However, the steel frame of a hard-topped vehicle provides increased protection if you are not touching metal.

• Avoid showering/bathing.

• Use a corded telephone only for emergencies. Cordless and Cellular telephones are safe to use.

• Unplug appliances and other electrical items.

• Monitor you NOAA Weather Radio for updates from local officials.

Avoid the following:

• Natural lightning rods such as a tall, isolated tree in an open area.

• Hilltops, open fields, the beach, or a boat on the water.

• Isolated sheds or other small structures in open areas.

• Anything metal – tractors, farm equipment, motorcycles, golf carts, golf clubs bicycles.

What to do Before a Tornado

• Be alert to changing weather conditions.

• Listen to a NOAA Weather Radio or commercial radio or television newscasts for latest information.

• Look for approaching storms.

Look for the following danger signs:

• Dark, often greenish sky

• Large hail

• A large, dark, low-lying cloud( particularly if rotating)

 • Loud roar, similar to a freight train