EMA provides tips on what to do during a tornado warning - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

EMA provides tips on what to do during a tornado warning

ELKHART - After a night of severe weather for Michiana, people are trying to get back to normal. It's also a good time for some reminders about what you should do during tornado warnings.

Tuesday was a busy day for the Elkhart County Emergency Management.  Director Michael Pennington and his Administrative Assistant, Theresa Sailor fielded dozens of calls of damage.  Sailor has seen enough in her 5 years with emergency management to know you have to have a plan in place. 

"When I woke up, the only thing that was going through my mind was seek shelter and seek it quickly," Sailor said. "I was very scared."

She did have a plan. Sailor headed to a Meijer near her apartment as soon as she heard the warning sirens. Officials say if you live in an apartment or don't have a basement, you should make a standing arrangement to go to a friend's or a large 24 hour store close by.

"Honestly, I didn't even lock my door when I left.  I was so... I just wanted to get to a safe place," Sailor says.

EMA Director Michael Pennington was in his basement with his family... and his weather radio. That's a tip he stressed: always have a weather radio.
"Many times you can't hear those sirens because of where you are geographically located in your city compared to the sirens," Pennington said. "So, that's why we stress so much to have your own weather radio in your home."

Weather radios aren't expensive, only about $30 at most stores. Emergency management says they also hear many people say they had a tough time programming their weather radio, that it's complicated. They say you can take your weather radio to them and they'll program it for you.

Officials say if you don't have a basement and can't make it to another safe place, get close to some large furniture.

"You want to stay low level.  Away from windows and the furthest, the closest interior part of your home so you can have some protection," Pennington said.
Both Pennington and Sailor say don't hesitate. Execute your plan quickly.  It's better to be safe than sorry.

Sailor says, "I didn't worry about anyting I left behind.  I had my dog.  I had my life."
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