EMA directors prep for severe weather

JACKSON, Tenn. — As soon as the possibility of severe weather showed up in the forecast last week, mergency management agencies across West Tennessee started preparing.

Jackson-Madison County EMA Director Marty Clements kept a close eye on the radar well before the severe weather pushed into the area.

“We start making sure all of our assets like generators and vehicles are full of gas,” he said.

Clements said the next step is to make sure their trailers are fully stocked with first aid and other supplies. Then they reach out to other first responders and law enforcement.

“We do this a day or two in advance, and then we just check the checklist again to be sure,” he said.

Storm sirens are also tested days in advance, but Clements says that shouldn’t be your sole source for a severe weather alert.

“We try to tell everybody to keep the app on your telephone, make sure your weather alert radio is there and do not wait on that siren because it might get struck by lighting,” Clements said.

He also says most people only take shelter during a tornado, but they need to be aware of other warnings as well.

“People get scared of that because of the destruction power it has,” he said. “But a lot more people die from floods and from lightning.”

Steve Smith with the McKellar-Sipes Regional Airport says if anyone in the community feels unsafe, they are welcome to come to the storm shelter on Grady Montgomery Drive next to the airport.

“It’s a 60- to 70-person storm shelter,” he said. “It hasn’t been used yet. It was just completed last month.”

If you’re unsure if your community has a storm shelter open to the public, call your county’s emergency management agency for that information.

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