Tornado and Severe Weather Awareness Week: Plan ahead to stay safe
Courtesy of Lincoln County Emergency Management
WISCONSIN – April 12 through April 16, 2021 is Tornado and Severe Weather Awareness Week in Wisconsin.
“The worst case scenario in emergency management planning is a disaster within a disaster,” said September Murphy, Lincoln County Emergency Management Director. “Here we are in 2021 still in the midst of a pandemic and preparing for tornadoes and severe weather.”
On Thursday, April 15, 2021, statewide virtual tornado drills will take place at 1:45 p.m. and 6:45 p.m. – virtual meaning there will be no statewide audio alert systems on radios or televisions.
“This is still a good opportunity for members of our community to take an active role in their own safety and of those around them at work and at home,” said Chief Corey Bennett from the Merrill Police Department.
Your plan should include where you will go and how you will get there.
Outside warning sirens are only one tool in an integrated public warning system.
“The sound of outside warning alarms indicate to get inside and then get information,” said Assistant Chief Hoffman from Russell Volunteer Fire Department.
Stay alert to news media, whether through social media, radio or television. It is also a good idea to have apps on your phone that alert you, especially when you travel. A NOAA weather radio can wake you when you are asleep. Having the redundancy in notification increases effectiveness, allowing individuals to take quick action, as there is not always advance notice of disasters.
The City of Merrill tests and sounds their outside warning sirens every week on Wednesdays at noon. The Town of Russell test and sound their sirens April through September on the first Monday night at 7 p.m.
Below are a few tornado safety tips to remember as you practice your own safety drills:
- Go to a safe room, basement, or storm cellar
- If there is no basement, get to a small interior room on the lowest level
- Stay away from windows, doors, and outside walls
- If outside, get to a sturdy building
- Do not get under an overpass or bridge- You’re safer in a low flat location
- Watch for flying debris that can cause injury or death
- Use your arms to protect your head and neck
- Stay informed- monitor local weather reports
Lincoln County last had a tornado roll through the northwest corner on July 19, 2019. The most destructive tornado came through the city and town of Merrill on April 10, 2011. The state averages around 20 tornadoes a year.