NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Severe Weather Awareness Week started in Tennessee as the Midstate braced for storms and potential flooding.
“Certain roadways and areas in Williamson County – just like many areas across the state – are prone to flooding so we just tell our community ahead of time when there’s rain coming just in general because again you never know which roads are going to be impacted but more often than not it’s normally the same roadways,” said Williamson County EMA spokesperson Hannah Bleam.
The department is using the week to promote preparedness.
“We want the community to know, number one to be aware. Make sure they are aware of the weather forecast so that if something were to happen or flooding were to begin to occur, they can take the proper precautions for themselves,” said Bleam. “On the emergency management side, we begin to just brief out to our partners – our first responder agencies. We make sure they’re all aware of the weather conditions that are coming so that they themselves can prepare.”
She said communication was a key factor when it came to agencies getting ready for severe weather.
“We also begin internally to communicate to staff and just make sure they’re all aware and that we know who’s going to be monitoring, responding and communicating during the event over the weekend. So we have all those people identified. We know who the points of contact are so if something does happen all of our partners and first responder agencies know exactly who to contact,” said Bleam.
First responders urge residents to not become complacent as this round of severe weather moved in a week after winter storms impacted Middle Tennessee.
“In Tennessee we’re shifting from winter weather, now we’re seeing some spring weather that we’re used to – that severe weather, flooding high winds, tornado possibilities, things like that and it’s important that we remind ourselves we can’t quite tune out, there’s always things going on but taking those necessary precautions for individual rest,” Bleam explained, adding it’s the same mentality for first responders. “With any team that’s been working long hours as I’m sure a lot of our community has experienced in different ways, there can be fatigue in different ways – emotional fatigue, mental fatigue but making sure we’re always regrouping after an incident. Having that minute to recharge is really important and again that includes our community. It’s so easy to tune out and to just want it all to stop.”
Severe weather advice includes the following:
- Never venture into high water, either on foot or in a vehicle
- If you’re outside and hear thunder, go indoors immediately
- Go to a basement or an innermost first-floor room in your home if you’re told to take shelter during a tornado warning
- Know the location of and route to your office or building’s tornado shelter if available.
- Emergency plans should include where to meet, and who family members should check in with if you are separated from each other during a severe weather emergency.
EMA also said emergency preparedness kits should include the following:
- One gallon of water per-day, per-person, and per-pet, for three to five days
- Enough non-perishable food for each family member and pet, for three to five days.
- Items: flashlight, battery-powered radio, extra batteries, first aid kit, personal hygiene items, cell phone charger or solar charger, copies of important family documents, and extra supplies of medications, especially for those with chronic health conditions.
CLICK HERE to read more about Severe Weather Awareness Week.