By Assistant Chief Jim Eden
Lee’s Summit Fire Department

Someday the winter weather will stop and if Missouri weather holds true, within twenty four hours we will be in the midst of spring severe weather. If you’re going to live in Missouri you need to be prepared for anything! Severe Weather Awareness Week is set for March 3-9, 2019.  This campaign is intended to increase public awareness about severe weather and tornadoes. Of particular concern are the number of deaths due to flooding-particularly flash flooding. Since 2015, 34 of Missouri’s 39 flooding deaths were people who had been in vehicles. It’s simple; turn around if the water is covering the roadway!

The Lee’s Summit Fire Department in conjunction with the State Emergency Management Agency and the National Weather Service in Pleasant Hill will conduct a statewide tornado drill on Tuesday, March 5, 2019 at 10:00 a.m.  Locally the Lee’s Summit Fire Department will activate the outdoor storm warning sirens, announce the exercise over the Emergency Broadcast Radio System, and send a message to subscribers. The National Weather Service will also activate the NOAA All-Hazard Weather Radio. In the event of severe weather conditions on the day of the exercise, the make-up date will be at the same time on Thursday, March 7th, if weather permits.

All schools, businesses and residents are encouraged to participate in the exercise by practicing their severe weather and shelter procedures.  The safest shelter location is in the lowest level of the building in an interior room without windows. In schools or businesses safe locations are basements, hallways without windows, under staircases and designated tornado safe rooms. Once everyone is accounted for, the drill is over.

It is important to be aware of the forecast and the potential rapidly changing weather conditions. Have several forms of severe weather notification that fit your lifestyleDo not depend solely on one method of notification. Commercial media and internet services provide information when you are awake, but do little when you are asleep. Outdoor warning sirens were designed to warn people outdoors and were not intended to be heard indoors. NOAA All-Hazard Weather Radios provide 24 hour a day notification of severe weather at home and at work. All-Hazard radios are programmable to the county that you live in, to alert you day or night when-severe weather is in your area. Many of these devices have back-up battery power and will function during power outages.

The National Weather Service provides safety tips and educational information about tornadoes, severe thunderstorms,  flash flooding, lightning and the importance of NOAA Weather Radios on its Severe Weather Awareness Week page at Each day during the week focuses on a different safety message. More information can be found on Missouri’ website, which includes detailed videos about how to take shelter from tornadoes in specific locations, how to avoid flash flooding and useful information about tornado sirens, and weather alert radio, or contact the Lee’s Summit Fire Department at (816) 969-1300.