EMA officials encourage you to get weather ready as we start April

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GUNTERSVILLE, Ala. -- April 1 means you probably shouldn't believe everything you see or hear, and it also has a more serious note to it. Emergency management officials say it's the highest month for tornadoes in our region and they encourage you to make sure your family is ready.

Marshall County Emergency Management Agency Director Anita McBurnett said you can't take action if you don't know what's going on with the weather. So number one - think about how you get weather alerts. "Staying weather aware, having three or more ways to receive your weather alerts, such as apps, NOAA weather radio, TV, radio," McBurnett explained.

Number two - prepare your family and practice your plan. McBurnett said it's a good idea to think ahead about where your safe place is in your home or near your home. If you have kids, practice the plan with them, and make sure they know where the safe place is. "If you're going to use that coat closet which is the most interior part of your house, clean it out. Make sure that you can get in there. If you have bicycle helmets, motorcycle helmets, baseball helmets, anything like that to protect your head, also have those in the safe place."

Third, know where your closest shelter is. If you're traveling, know your location and where should be if the weather takes a turn. McBurnett says elderly individuals should talk with family or caregivers about a safe place that will accommodate a walker or wheelchair if necessary, that can be easily and quickly reached during a warning.

"Those folks who live in mobile homes, can't say it enough, you need to be able to know where the closest shelter is, how long it takes you to get there, and what's the quickest route," McBurnett explained, "You may not have a lot of time."

FEMA encourages families to put together an emergency supply kit for their homes and cars. When preparing a kit, remember water, medications, and items needed for the well-being of your pets.

FEMA lists a Basic Disaster Supplies Kit list:
To assemble your kit, store items in airtight plastic bags and put your entire disaster supplies kit in one or two easy-to-carry containers such as plastic bins or a duffel bag.
A basic emergency supply kit could include the following recommended items:
• Water - one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation
• Food - at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food
• Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert
• Flashlight
• First aid kit
• Extra batteries
• Whistle to signal for help
• Dust mask to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place
• Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
• Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
• Manual can opener for food
• Local maps
• Cell phone with chargers and a backup battery

Also, think about securing important documents in a secure place.

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