Severe weather prep important for all
As one season’s severe weather comes to a close (hopefully) and another’s begins, it’s important to realize the value of a plan.
When the City of Wayne was hit in 2013 by a mile-wide tornado, it helped to make everyone aware of how important having emergency plans was.
The City of Wayne has numerous ordinances for this very reason -- whether it’s a tornado or a blizzard.
City of Wayne street and planning director Joel Hansen discussed the importance of people adhering to the ordinances in the event of inclement weather, such as a snow emergency.
“People don’t realize how difficult it is to stop a snow plow or get it turned. When cars are parked in the road, the street crews have to try and get around them. Those plows jerk to the side because of the pressure of the snow and it can be a real hazard.”
When the City of Wayne enacts a snow emergency, notice is given on all the social media accounts for the city, in addition to contacting the Wayne Herald, KTCH and various other entities to get the word out.
The emergency doesn’t go into effect until three hours after the alert has been declared to allow residents to remove vehicles from the roads.
The restricted parking remains in effect until lifted by the city. It’s not as simple as when the snow or ice stops accumulating. The city takes into account clearing the snow or ice and how much time that will require to allow residents safe passage of the streets.
One thing both Hansen and City of Wayne police chief Marlen Chinn stressed about weather emergencies like the one described is a simple way to ensure you don’t get caught in bad weather.
From the emergency stand point, Chinn pointed out that if a snow emergency has been declared, it’s likely that it’s not safe for road crews to be out. Which, in turn, means it’s not safe for rescue crews to be out.
“We can’t get people out to you quickly in these situations.”
Hansen brought up vehicles stalled or stuck in the street during such an emergency.
“We will remove them, but some times the tow company can’t even get to them to hook up right away,” he said.
Chinn added, “this last big blizzard we had that very thing happened where we had to dig out around it for the tow truck to be able to hook on.”
Emergency snow routes are cleared first for access to the hospital, fire department, city buildings and in each neighborhood to ensure that if there was a need for emergency personnel to get to a home, they could.
With the coming of spring and summer storm season, it’s extremely important for families to put a plan in place in reacting to a tornado threat.
The City of Wayne installed new sirens after the tornado in 2013, but Chinn stressed that the sirens aren’t meant to be heard indoors.
“We’ve had people complain that they can’t hear them inside. It’s not designed to be heard inside. You should have a weather radio on indoors. It’s meant for the people outside to warn them.”
The sirens are sounded when the National Weather Service alerts of a tornado or if trained spotters call one in, so it’s not a joke.
Another misconception Hansen and Chinn want cleared up with the sirens is the all-clear signal. And that is to say that there isn’t one. When engaged, the siren will sound for three minutes steadily. That same tone will be reactivated every five minutes for continuing danger.
“There is never an all-clear given,” Chinn said. “If it sounds again, it’s because there is still danger of a tornado.”
Families should make a clear, simple plan for children to follow during severe weather, starting with getting indoors. Most injuries associated with storms come from debris flying through the air.
Schools, businesses and other buildings should have a clearly marked tornado shelter for employees and customers to take refuge in.
For those in a residence, head to the basement. If there isn’t a basement, find the most interior room without windows and as few doors as possible.
Get under a table, desk or other sturdy piece of furniture and cover your neck and head as much as possible using pillows, blankets and other materials.
Having a plan and knowing the city’s procedures can make the difference for your family this storm season.