Staying safe through preparation for severe weather

By CAYSON FRERICHS, NEWS3 Reporter

MACOMB, Illinois – Severe weather season has begun across the United States as well as the western parts of Illinois. Preparation is important when dealing with the season.

“There are many things we can do, and one of those we can do is prepare where to go in case of severe weather,” said Edgar Rodriguez, Director of Emergency Services and Disaster Agency in McDonough County.

The safest place inside your home during severe weather is on the lowest floor, such as a basement. If that is not possible inside your home, then an interior room or closet is the next safest place.

During severe weather, it is also a good idea to wear good, sturdy shoes and bring a heavy blanket or mattress with you to your safe space to cover yourself from flying debris and broken glass. 

A flashlight is also important incase of a power outage. 

One part of the warning process is tornado sirens. Sirens have been used to indicate severe weather since 1970. However, certain requirements have to be met in order for sirens to go off in an area.

“The standard is that we need to have at least 70 mph winds and golf-ball size hail,” Rodriguez said.

Even though sirens do play an important role in the warning process, Rodriguez said sirens don’t don’t always go off when there is a destructive storm.

“We have seen some of the catastrophic events that are less than 70 mph,” Rodriguez said.

The best way to stay up to date on severe weather is through a weather radio and alerts that come to people’s phones. 

Rodriguez said during days where severe weather is likely, those who could be affected should stay aware throughout the day of when it could hit. 

“Social media is becoming another way to maintain situational awareness, and we relay a lot of posts on our social media,” Rodriguez said. “Putting out this information says ‘Hey, be aware, by this day something may happen.’”