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Spring Storms Emphasize Importance of Severe Weather Preparedness
Unfortunately, it took a line of storms that swept through Lincoln Place mobile home park in northeast Springfield last May for some to learn how to prepare for severe weather.
Resident Sena Wescoat said, "I didn't have emergency kits. I didn't have an evacuation plan or anything and like that, and since the storm happened, I actually have an emergency kit in my house and I have one in my car and we now have an evacuation plan."
Since those storms at Lincoln Place, a tornado siren has been installed just outside the neighborhood.
Weather conditions can change quickly, especially when there's fluctuations in temperature.
"We're probably in the peak season if we're describing the time at which we have the most or highest risk of tornadic activity, we're really there," said Jonathon Monken, director of the Illinois Emergency Management Agency.
Monken says staying informed of weather alerts and how to prepare is most important. Make sure you have a family emergency plan that details where you'll meet and who you'll call in the event of an emergency. Also, keep a battery-powered weather radio nearby.
Monken says the one thing people know they should do, but many don't, is to have an emergency kit with bottled water, ready to eat food, first aid kit, a flashlight, medicines, extra clothes and blankets, an extra cell phone battery or charger and more. Make sure you keep your emergency kit in the safest part of your house where you'll take cover.
"It's amazing how much damage you can stave off and how many losses you can prevent if you just take a few extra steps, and there's not loss more important to prevent than the loss of life," Monken said.
Because weather conditions can change quickly, it's important to keep an eye on changes in the forecast. One great way to do that is to download the WICS weather app to your smartphone for updates on the go.
For more information on how to prepare for severe weather, and what to include in your emergency kits, click here.