Two short months ago we saw record low temperatures, snow and ice, and now we face severe storm season. Welcome to spring in Kansas!
Living in the Sunflower State for any length of time can make it easy to be complacent concerning the spring storm season, which peaks between March and June. The inevitable storm watches over the next several weeks can become easy to tune out — heard it and seen it before, right? But now is the time to tune up your preparedness and put plans in place before severe weather potentially affects your community, your home and your family.
Before a Storm Strikes
Follow your co-op’s social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube) – This is often the first place your co-ops will post information as it’s immediate and can reach a large audience at one time.
- Sign up for emails – If your co-ops offers e-newsletters in addition to their monthly local pages in Kansas County Living, make sure you sign up to stay informed.
- Life support – If you or any member of your family requires life support equipment such as a respirator, notify your co-op and plan for a back-up power source in case the power goes out.
- Talk with your kids – On a “blue-sky day” spend time teaching your children storm safety basics and what to do when the weather turns bad. Be sure to explain the difference between watches and warning (for severe storms, tornadoes, and floods) and the precautions to take for each. Have a designated “safe” room for sheltering from tornadoes and severe storms.
- Below ground is best
- Interior hallway, room or closet without windows if there is no basement, safe room or underground tornado shelter
- Know the county you live in and surrounding counties to better understand your proximity to the storm. Consider posting a Kansas county map in your home’s designated storm shelter so you can track any storm warnings issued.
- As the weather warms up, kids will be playing outside more often. Make sure your children understand that storms can move quickly, and lightening can strike 10 miles in advance of a storm. Teach them the National Weather Service’s advice: When thunder roars go indoors.
- It’s never safe to shelter under a tree or other tall object — get indoors as soon as possible. Lightening typically hits the tallest object available.
- It’s not safe in numbers during a lightening event. If you are with a group and stuck outside do not stand close together.
- If you can’t find indoor shelter, move to a low area away from water and trees and get low to the ground.
- Because storms can happen at any time and develop quickly, communicate in advance where the family should seek shelter and practice emergency evacuation plans. Have a plan if the family becomes separated including a safe meet-up spot.
- Charge your phones and other electrical necessities — phone, laptops, tablets — to ensure connectivity to family and access to important weather information should your power go out.
- Organize a storm kit with enough disaster supplies for two weeks for everyone in your family (family pets, too!). Keep items in air- and water-tight plastic bags. Rotate out the food and water every six months. Replace batteries and update clothes, shoes, etc. Check for proper storage (length, temperature) of any prescriptions.
Restoring power after a major outage involves more than throwing a switch or removing downed trees from power lines. While power restoration priorities may differ from co-op to co-op, repairs generally follow a plan that restores power safely to the greatest number of members in the shortest time possible. Visit https://kec.coop/safety to learn more about how electric co-ops restore power after storm damage.
Your electric cooperative wants to ensure the safety of everyone during and after severe storms. Please prepare, please practice, and once the storm passes stay away from downed power lines — they could be deadly.