By Shawn Kirkpatrick
This time of year, severe weather can strike at any time. Being prepared and having a plan is what third graders at Beauregard Elementary School learned from the Lee County Emergency Management (LCEMA) group. Agency officials during a weather training class at their school last week.
More than 25 students saw firsthand how a tornado looks during the day and at night inside a tornado machine. Each student was able to stick their hands inside and feel the moist, swirling air.
They also looked on as a Midland Weather Radio was programmed by LCEMA Communications Officer James Sanders. Teacher Amy Hess won the radio in an Opelika Observer weather plan contest earlier this year.
“It was very interesting to see them program the radio. I couldn’t believe how easy it was to set up, and the children really enjoyed it,” Hess said.
LCEMA officials want all citizens to be aware of the different types of severe weather they face, how to get watch and warning information and how to keep their families safe. “The biggest thing is to make sure you have fresh batteries for your radio,” Sanders said. “We recommend that you change your radio batteries when you change your smoke detector batteries and set your clocks back, around every six months.”
LCEMA Training Officer Jeremy Jones said there is one misconception about weather radios and warnings.
“Everyone thinks sirens will warn them while they are in their homes, which nowadays are pretty much soundproof. Those sirens normally will not warn you inside your home, but a weather radio will.”
Officials also stress putting a weather survival kit together with water, food, weather radio with batteries, flashlights, first aid kit, whistle to signal for help, charged cell phone and cordless, portable charger.
LCEMA officials offer help programming weather radios. Bring it by the LCEMA office at 908 Ave. B in Opelika, and they will program it for free, but bring batteries. There is also a special NOAA radio available for people who are hard of hearing.
For more information on being prepared during severe weather, go to leecoema.com or download the agency’s app for free.