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Emergency crews preparing for possible severe weather

With the possibility of severe weather in Mid-Missouri this week, emergency crews are making sure they are prepared and urging residents to do the same.

The National Weather Service held a weather safety class in Columbia Tuesday evening and focused on how everyone can keep ahead of the storms.

After seeing the devastation from previous storms like Joplin in 2011 and Branson last year, people in Mid-Missouri are not taking any risks.

“I want to be around for a while longer and don’t want to get caught in the storm,” said Cindy Finney of Jefferson City.

“Might as well be prepared because it’s going to happen,” added Mark Baker.

While no one plans to be caught in a storm, emergency crews have been working to prepare for the worst.

“We pretty well stay ready all the time and try to plan for anything,” said Bill Farr of the Cole County Emergency Management Agency.

Cole County recently added new emergency siren systems that are now taller and have louder speakers.

Boone County has been pushing education to its residents and has been making sure all equipment is up-to-date.

“We have been testing sirens regularly so that’s all in place and working,” said Martina Pounds of the Boone County Emergency

However, in order for their efforts to work, crews say they need everyone to take notice.

“When the sirens go off, they need to seek shelter immediately,” said Pounds.

“Always have that plan,” added Farr. “That’s the main thing, is try to teach yourself to be prepared.”

Emergency officials say if you are at home, keep a NOAA weather radio on hand and head to the basement.

“Try to get into the building if you can at all possible,” advised Farr. “If you can’t, try to get to a low-lying ditch.”

If you happen to be stuck outside with absolutely nowhere else to go, it’s only at that point that emergency crews say the safest place becomes the inside of your car.

Emergency managers advise it is important to keep safety kits with food and water in both your home and car. Those supplies should last for around three days. They also say you should keep your cell phone charged so you can can call for help if needed.

Crews will be watching for low-lying flood areas for the possibility of high water. They will also have water rescue teams on hand in case of emergency.

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