WBKO First Alert

Will you be ready for the next tornado?

By: Courtney Lassiter Email
By: Courtney Lassiter Email

We put Warren County Emergency Management to the test so you can better prepare your family.

Tornadoes are on people's minds after this weekend's devastation in Kansas. According to emergency personnel, in the aftermath, preparation for an EF5 could have been crucial for survival.

Emergency Management is pretty confident in Warren County's preparation for tornadoes, but they went on to say there's no promise we'd be prepared for a tornado as devastating as an EF5.

Nellie and Lawrence Kirby live so close to one of Warren County's outdoor warning sirens, they can hear it from inside their home in Alvaton, Ky.

"I'm not scared of storms," Nellie exclaimed.

Maybe Nellie isn't scared because since she's lived in this house and a serious tornado has never occurred.

Brian Lowry with Warren County Emergency Management said the outdoor sirens aren't enough for some people, unlike the Kirby's who live more than a mile away.

"The 28 outdoor warning sirens are effective for a range of a mile in 360 degrees," Lowry said. "We can't provide enough outdoor warnings for the entire county. At about $18,000 a piece we need to add about 45 more."

Emergency Management's best advice is to seek shelter in five minutes.

"The community is only as prepared as the individual family," Lowry said.

"We get in the hallway or go to neighbors who have a basement," Lawrence said as his wife reminds him of the fully equipped Alvaton Fire Station built to withstand tornado's just a block away.

"We could go but we've never had to yet," Lawrence said.

Nellie said when they first moved in 10 years ago, the fire station wasn't there. Since they built the new one in 2001 with new technology called ICF (insulated concrete form) Nellie feels safer. ICF means the entire building is constructed of Styrofoam, concrete and steel.

Although the Kirby's in this story are fortunate to live near the only fire station that's tornado proof, Emergency Management said you can be just as safe if you plan ahead. Not only listening for the outdoor and indoor warning systems, but buying a weather radio is crucial for your survival.

To view a map of Warren County's COWS locations click here, and to read more on the COWS and Warren County Emergency Management visitwww.wcem.org.

For information on everything from how a tornado is formed, to how to prepare a family readiness plan, to tornado safety in schools click here.


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