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Editorial: Be prepared in case of severe weather in state

Every year in April, Homeland Security and Emergency Management, a division of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, sponsors Severe Weather Awareness Week with the National Weather Service.

The week is intended to not only remind people about the threats of severe weather that come in Minnesota but also to educate people on how they can be prepared.

Statewide tornado drills were conducted Thursday, and this gave businesses and families the opportunity to practice their emergency plans in the event of a tornado.

According to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, there are an average of 28 tornadoes per year in the state. In 2018, 44 twisters touched down, and a record was set in 2010 with 113 tornadoes touching down across the state.

The Freeborn County area, unfortunately, has been no stranger to tornadoes, and it is important to know what to do and where to go if a tornado is approaching.

In addition to tornadoes, Minnesota also has other severe weather, including floods, lightning and hail, along with extreme heat.

We encourage people to take advantage of wireless emergency alerts sent directly to your phone to help you be aware of pending severe weather.

If you haven’t already done so, use this weekend 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.

Consider 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? 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.

You’ll thank yourself later for preparing today.