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Families Encouraged To Practice Severe Weather Plan

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UPDATED: Tuesday February 11, 2014 7:12 PM

The calendar might still say winter, but the Doppler 10 team will be tracking severe storms before you know it.

Meteorologists and emergency management officials agree that you never want to enter severe weather season without a plan.

Grandview resident Mark Roberts says his family has a plan in place.

"All of our phones have the alerts on them,” Roberts said. “We do have a basement plan for the tornado sirens. Other than that, we just kind of keep close tabs on the news."

Emergency management officials say there are some key items to include in any severe weather disaster plan. Those items include bottles of water, a flashlight with fresh batteries and a weather radio.

"If a family has (a weather radio), they'll not only get the warnings, but it tells them what's going on,” said Franklin County EMA Director Mike Pannell. “It's battery-powered plus electricity so if you lose your power, you're still able to get the warnings from the National Weather Service."

Pannell says the safest place to be in your home during a tornado is in the basement. If you don't have a basement, Pannell says to head into an interior room with few or no windows such as a bathroom.

"I don't have a basement,” Pannell said. “Our plan is that we go to the interior room. The kids and the wife are in the bathtub. They're pulling a cushion over (their heads). It really does save lives."

Pannell also says it is not enough to simply have a plan.

Just like schools do every year with the state-wide tornado drill, Pannell suggests you and your family practice your plan.

"It doesn't take much time to say, 'Kids, this is where we're going to meet and this is how we're going to get there in the dark’,” Pannell said. “Practice it in the dark. (Know) this is where the flashlight is and this is where the radios are.”

Pannell says families who have survived storms credit being properly prepared.

“Practicing (the plan) made the difference,” he said.

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