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February 20, 2013

Preparation for storms requires planning, equipment

The peak months for severe weather are around the corner for Cullman County.

While it’s not a time for celebration, this is Severe Weather Preparedness Week. And Cullman County Emergency Management Director Phyllis Little says it is an important time to remind everyone that getting ready is the first and most important step to survival.

“With this week there is a lot of publicity about severe weather, so a lot of people are thinking about it. I always say that every household needs a weather radio. It’s still, in my opinion, the best safety tool anyone can own. It’s a direct link to the National Weather Service and you will have access to all  the watches and warnings issued,” Little said.

Living in the Deep South, Little noted that severe weather can arrive during any month, which has happened several times in the winter. Nonetheless, the most prominent period of severe weather for the Cullman area is March, April and May.

“We don’t really have what you define as an off time for severe weather,” Little said. “With our location in the Gulf states we get our share of storms and severe weather. And the reality is a lot of it comes after dark.”

The potential for severe weather after nightfall is one of the reasons Little urges residents to have plans in place for responding to storms.

“If you don’t have a plan, make a plan. And review it with your family,” Little said. “We have children who come home after school by themselves and they need to know what to do if they are home alone and bad weather arrives. Children are great learners. They will listen.”

In addition to keeping a weather radio and flashlights handy, Little said families should have emergency kits with necessary medicines, bottled water and food. Power outages and damaged residences can present a lot of difficulties for a family that is not prepared.

Equally important for area residents is to know the location of   storm shelters in the community. The following shelters are available:

Vinemont/Providence Volunteer Fire Department #1, County

Road 1355.

Vinemont/Providence Volunteer Fire Department #2, Ridgeway St., Town of South Vinemont.

Garden City Town Hall, U.S. Highway 31 South.

Fairview Housing Authority, Wesley Avenue.

Chapel Village/Jones Chapel, U.S. Highway 278 West.

Dodge City Town Hall basement, 130 Howard Circle, just of Interstate 65 at the 299 mile marker.

Good Hope Town Hall basement, 134 Town Hall Drive, just off Interstate 65 at exit 304.

City of Cullman, Cullman County Courthouse basement hallway, 500 2nd Avenue Southwest.

City of Hanceville, CW Day Park.

City of Hanceville, Steppville at Commercial Street.

City of Hanceville, at intersection of Stadium and Bangor.

David Palmer may be contacted at dpalmer@cullmantimes.com or 256-734-2131, ext. 213.

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