Editorial: It’s never too early to prepare for bad weather

Published 7:30 pm Sunday, April 8, 2018

It seems a little unusual to be talking about severe weather such as floods, lightning and tornadoes when we still have snow on the ground, but it will all be here before we know it.

That’s why we have to take advantage of Minnesota’s Severe Weather Awareness Week, which started today and lasts until Friday. It is better for everyone to be educated and prepared and to have plans in place in case something happens.

According to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety’s Homeland Security and Emergency Management Division, severe weather can refer to any dangerous weather with the potential to cause the loss of life or injuries, significant damage to structures or any other serious disruption to communities.

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The division says though severe weather can’t be prevented, there are some simple steps everyone can take to stay safe and protect themselves and their homes.

Each day this week, the Department of Public Safety, along with the National Weather Service, will promote information  on topics such as alerts and warnings; severe weather, lightning and hail; floods; tornadoes; and extreme heat.

On Thursday, there will be a statewide tornado drill at 1:45 p.m. and 6:45 p.m.

Use this week as an opportunity to get an emergency plan in place for your family and to practice that plan with your family members. The website, at www.ready.gov/make-a-plan, provides helpful information to consider when thinking about a plan. It should include things like emergency alerts, a shelter plan, an evacuation route and a communication plan. Where will you go in case of an emergency? Where will you meet if you get split up? It’s also important to tailor your plan for family members with special health concerns or other needs.

While you’re discussing your emergency plans, consider also taking a few minutes to make an emergency kit in case you’re stuck in your house at any point in time. That kit should include things such as water, food that won’t spoil, a flashlight, a battery-powered radio, a first aid kit, a whistle, tissue, garbage bags, dust masks, a wrench, pliers and sturdy shoes.

These ideas aren’t difficult but do require taking a little bit of time out of our day to get organized.

In addition to talking about emergency plans at home, it also wouldn’t be a bad idea to talk about emergency plan at businesses, schools and churches.

We encourage you to pay attention to posts by law enforcement agencies and the National Weather Service this week. They will be sharing information about preparation and awareness.