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After a spring season that seemed more like an extended winter, most of us are eager and ready for summer. While you’re getting ready for summer, don’t forget to prepare for potential severe summer weather. Severe summer weather can bring damaging winds, hail, tornadoes, urban/flash flooding, and heat waves. Summer storms also have the potential to cause secondary emergencies such as power outages or even cause injuries after the event due to downed power lines or scattered debris.
As a first step to severe summer weather preparedness, be sure you have the capability to receive alerts and warnings provided by the National Weather Service and local media. A National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio ensures that you have the ability to receive alerts in a timely manner. If you don’t already have one, consider getting a NOAA All Hazards Weather Radio. These can be programmed to receive ONLY the alerts you want and ONLY for the areas of concern to you.
Bismarck area outdoor warning sirens are one method used to alert citizens of a current or potential emergency. To provide a "tornado warning" is a typical use, but outdoor warning sirens may be activated for other emergencies as well. When the sirens sound, go indoors, seek shelter, and monitor local media and your all-hazards NOAA Weather Radio. It’s important to understand that you may NOT hear the “outdoor” warning system when you’re indoors. Therefore, receiving your alerts/warnings indoors (e.g. via NOAA Weather Radio), is also very important. Bismarck area sirens are tested on the last Friday of the month at 9:30 a.m.
Local government does not own or operate storm or “tornado” shelters. It’s important to identify your best shelter options prior to storm events. Those who live in mobile homes or other vulnerable structures should discuss sheltering possibilities with nearby friends, neighbors, relatives, etc. The best time to relocate to a sturdier shelter area is during (or before) a tornado watch is issued. Do not purposely wait until a tornado warning is issued. A general rule for tornado sheltering is to shelter at the lowest level and put as many walls between you and the outside as possible and avoid areas with exterior windows and doors.
“When preparing, be sure to consider the needs of our more vulnerable populations including the elderly, infants and children, those with special needs, and pets too. Involve your whole family, including children, in reviewing your emergency communications and response plans. This will make your family better prepared and able to cope with emergency situations,” says Gary Stockert, Emergency Manager for the city of Bismarck.
To learn more about hazards and emergency preparedness planning, visit Bismarck Emergency Management at www.bismarcknd.gov/emergencymanagement. Visiting the National Weather Service website is also a great way to learn about weather related hazards. Visit www.weather.gov/safety. For more information visit www.bismarcknd.gov