Preparing for severe weather as winter turns to spring

Published: Mar. 9, 2023 at 7:36 AM CST
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STATELINE, Ill. (WIFR) - Grab your snow boots and emergency kits because a winter storm is set to cover the stateline during severe weather awareness week and emergency personnel have some tips on how you can prepare for a disaster before it strikes.

“Our accidents increase more during those weather inclement times,” said Chief Brian Kunce who runs the Boone County Fire Protection District #2.

If you’ve lived in the Midwest for a while, you’re probably familiar with weather disasters and the damage storms can do.

“You have power lines, you have trees across the road and then we can’t get to them. You will see areas all over the united states after a storm and there’s first responders out their rescuing people because they drove through the water,” said Kunce.

From flooding to tornadoes to ice storms, he says his team is trained to tackle anything mother nature throws at them. Kunce also stresses that everybody needs a plan before disaster knocks on the front door.

“We’ve had it in the past where the powerlines went down and energized the fences, so you want to make sure that all of the homeowners in that area are aware of what’s going on,” Kunce explains, “We may not be able to get the electricity turned off for a considerable amount of time.”

The Winnebago County Fire Headquarters helps with recovery efforts. Matt Cordinneer who is the headquarter logistics chief says keeping an emergency kit on you, with a shelter plan, can make all the difference.

“We’ll help ComEd in securing down powerlines. Making those streets and right away safe for our citizens and the monitoring too in the event of you know, flooding to set up areas that should not be traveled during those storms.”

Kunce gave 23 News a rundown of what you should do in each disaster situation.

If you are in a tornado warning, have a shelter plan in place. This is so you know where to go if a tornado or severe thunderstorm that could produce a tornado hits. If for some reason you are separated from your family or need to get a hold of them, have a meet up spot that everyone knows about. This way you are able to know who is alright and who may be stuck in the aftermath.

If you are in a flooding situation, avoid all of the barricaded areas. They are barricaded for a reason and will help keep both residents and emergency personnel safe. You do not know if the water is still or moving. Moving water at twelve inches is fast enough to move a car off the road putting you in harms way. Dangerous items can always be hiding under the murky water that could pop a tire or hurt a person.

If you are in a winter storm, keep an emergency kit on hand. This kit could be filled with bandages, gauze, food, water and extra warm clothing. It is best to keep extra warm clothing, or a blanket, in your car in case you are stranded. If you can avoid leaving your location, stay off the roads. It is best to let plows and salt trucks do their jobs without the worry of others on the road.

Kunce says for all severe weather instances, keep your electronics fully charged. If you know a storm is coming make sure all electronics are charged and even keep an extra battery pack on you. Do not think a 50% battery phone life will suffice if you are without power for a pro-longer period of time.

He says most importantly, watch your forecasts so you know what to expect and prepare for.