With Monday marking the beginning of Severe Weather Awareness Week in Missouri, the City of Harrisonville and Harrisonville Emergency Services wants to remind you about the City’s severe-weather protocols.
Storm sirens in town are sounded when a Tornado Warning has been issued that affects Harrisonville. The decision to issue a tornado warning is made by a series of trained storm spotters from Harrisonville EMS who are spread throughout Harrisonville, and the surrounding area, during a Tornado Watch.
Whenever the Harrisonville EMS storm spotters have been deployed, three churches have agreed to open their doors for anyone who does not have a safe shelter from severe weather. Those churches are: First Baptist Church of Harrisonville, located at 504 W Wall Street, Our Lady of Lourdes – Harrisonville, located at 2700 E Mechanic Street, and Antioch Southern Baptist Church, located at 2601 E Mechanic Street. Antioch Southern Baptist will allow pets if they are in a kennel. Again, these shelters will only open their doors when storm spotters from Harrisonville EMS have been deployed. An announcement will be made on the City’s social media pages when the shelters have been opened.
We encourage all residents to avoid traveling during a tornado warning. Only move to the churches for shelter if you know you have enough time to make it there safely. If the warning is already here and on top of the City, shelter in place. This means going into a basement, or for structures without a basement, going into the most interior room, as close to ground level as possible.
EMERGENCY ALERT SYSTEM
The Cass County Emergency Notification System is a free service provided by the Cass County Emergency Services Board, through Everbridge. The service alerts citizens of severe weather events, environmental or man-made disasters, search and rescue operations and major crime incidents in their immediate area. Citizens will be notified of such emergencies via a recorded message on their landline, wireless phone, text message or emails. The emergency messages will only be sent by an authorized 9-1-1 Dispatcher. The weather warnings are generated by the National Weather Service, through the Everbridge system, from the number 816-253-8966. Officials recommend all citizens enroll individually to ensure notifications are received on each device correctly. For example, a family of four will create four accounts, one for each member that wants to receive notifications. Do not use the same telephone number or email address on multiple accounts. If you list all family members contact information on the same account, once the first message is received the system will stop making notifications and the rest of the numbers listed in the account will not be notified. To sign up for emergency alerts from the Cass County Emergency Notification System, visit https://member.everbridge.net/index/453003085613061#/signup
SHELTER IN PLACE
Whether you are at home, work or elsewhere, there may be situations when it’s simply best to stay where you are and avoid any uncertainty outside. There may be circumstances when staying put and creating a barrier between yourself and potentially contaminated air outside, a process known as "sealing the room," is a matter of survival. Use common sense and available information to assess the situation and determine if there is immediate danger. If you see large amounts of debris in the air, or if local authorities say the air is badly contaminated, you may want to take this kind of action.
The process used to seal the room is considered a temporary protective measure to create a barrier between you and potentially contaminated air outside. It is a type of sheltering in place that requires preplanning.
Bring your family and pets inside.
Lock doors, close windows, air vents and fireplace dampers.
Turn off fans, air conditioning and forced air heating systems.
Take your emergency supply kit unless you have reason to believe it has been contaminated.
Go into an interior room with as few windows as possible.
Seal all windows, doors and air vents with 2-4 mil. thick plastic sheeting and duct tape. Consider measuring and cutting the sheeting in advance to save time.
Cut the plastic sheeting several inches wider than the openings and label each sheet.
Duct tape plastic at corners first and then tape down all edges.
Be prepared to improvise and use what you have on hand to seal gaps so that you create a barrier between yourself and any contamination.
Local authorities may not immediately be able to provide information on what is happening and what you should do. However, you should watch TV, listen to the radio or check the Internet often for official news and instructions as they become available.