Washington County VA

Emergency officials urge you to get prepared now for severe weather

Emergency officials urge you to get prepared now for severe weather

WASHINGTON COUNTY, Va. - Are you prepared if a storm strikes and knocks out your power, or maybe even worse?

The time to prepare for severe weather is now so you can be ready any time storms hit. We're watching the weather. My family is really concerned about the tornadoes," says Kristen Booher.

Booher tells us her family made plans Monday to go to a neighbor's home if storms hit because they don't have a basement. "We do not, but we have neighbors that do. So we know where we can go if we need to. We definitely think about that and make sure we contact those people." 

Washington County, Virginia Emergency Management Director Pokey Harris says planning ahead is key. "It can happen to us, and regardless to what the weather forecast is, we learned back in 2011 that it can change and it can change very quickly," she said.

Harris says first make sure you have an emergency kit already packed and in your safe room before the storms hit. Kits should have a candle, flashlight, food and water, any medicines that you take daily, cell phone chargers, and cash. "Keep our shoes handy, because when these happen in the middle of the night you're bare-footed. Have shoes handy that you can get to or even in your emergency kit," adds Harris.   

Next, figure out where the safest place is in your home and make a plan with your family to meet there. Harris says if there are tornadoes or strong winds, you don't want to be upstairs because things can fall through the roof or the roof can even come off your home. She says to be on the lowest level of your home with as many walls between you and the exterior, somewhere like a bathroom or a closet where there are no windows or doors. "Be in the strongest part of your home, so if something happens then you have the best chance of making it through and again being able to go help others," says Adam Thiel with the Virginia Public Safety and Homeland Security.  

If you're in a mobile home, you need to make plans to go to a more sturdy structure.

As families like Kristen Booher prepare for the worst, EMA director Pokey Harris and other emergency responders will be on stand-by ready to help anyone in need.

Harris also recommends also having a helmet, blankets, or pillows to protect your head and your body from debris that may be flying around. She says to have those things already in your safe room.

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