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Preparing for severe weather season

Posted 3/15/2013   Updated 3/15/2013 Email story   Print story

    


by Donovan Jackson
Air University Public Affairs


3/15/2013 - MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. -- Spring is approaching and with it so are the threats of severe weather conditions and fierce storms brought by the impending tornado and hurricane season.

There are many ways to prepare for the chance of extreme weather. Taking the necessary precautions and listening for weather alerts can prove beneficial when faced with severe weather conditions.

"Although March through May is this region's season for severe weather, we are also susceptible to erratic weather during any month of the year," said David Scott, manager of the Maxwell weather office.

Base personal are consistently informed of severe weather within range via the siren system, the telephone alerting system and computer pop-ups.

Along with the various warning methods for severe weather conditions, safety drills and knowing what to do in case of weather threats also help to ensure safety during the tornado and hurricane season.

"The base always tries to be prepared for the possibility of harsh weather. This is a reason why it regularly conducts precautionary exercises," said Mark Garner, deputy director of safety at the 42nd Air Base Wing.

"The exercises are important and should be taken very seriously," Garner said. "You do not want to let the one time you chose not to take a storm warning seriously be the day of a serious storm."

Although Maxwell and Gunter conduct the necessary steps to be prepared for severe weather, according to the base emergency management supervisor, Ronnie Moore, tornadoes and high winds are the biggest threat to the two installations.

These damaging winds are common when the front of a severe thunderstorm moves through the region.

"All we really need to do in order to remain safe is to know how to respond and what actions to take during the presence of tornadoes and high winds or any other potential weather threat," Moore said.


In a house, dorm or apartment
In the event of a potential tornado, seek shelter immediately. If an underground shelter such as a storm cellar or basement is not available, take shelter in a small center room on the lowest level away from windows.

Avoid loose doors, unsupported roofs and windows.

In a vehicle
If in a vehicle during a tornado, exit and seek the nearest building for shelter as vehicles are extremely dangerous during a tornado. Never attempt to flee from a tornado in a vehicle.

If unable to find shelter quickly and safely, then pull over on the side of the road and run to a low-lying area away from cars or any other structures that can be easily carried or destroyed by a tornado. Lay flat, face down, and protect the back of your head with your arms.

At work
If at work, shut down computers and, if needed, secure classified information. Go directly to your designated shelter area. If you are unsure about where you would take shelter at work, refer to MAFBVA 10-4 located on your facility bulletin boards.

Crouch as low to the floor as possible, facing down, and cover your head with your hands. Continue to monitor weather reports and wait for further instructions from authority figures.

Courtesy of the Maxwell Emergency Management Office



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