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Public safety officials issue advice on storms

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By Rich Bauer, Managing Editor

The arrival of spring also means the start of the severe storm season.

With tornados and other types of severe storms possible this time of year, Vandalia’s public safety officials, Police Chief Larry Eason and Fire Chief Merle Adermann, issued the following severe storm advice:

• Be prepared. Use local radio and television reports to stay updated on current weather conditions.

Also, make sure to have a flashlight with fresh batteries, a battery-operated radio and a phone readily available.

• In the event of a tornado or other type of severe weather, the city’s storm sirens will sound; when you hear those sirens, take cover immediately in a basement or interior room of your living quarters.

The sirens are not a time to go outside and watch for bad weather; instead check on weather updates on radio or television.

Do not dial 911 to get information; that number is only used to report emergencies. Calls to 911 for information only tie up the police and fire dispatcher, and hamper the police and fire from responding to and handling emergency situations.

Those caught outside during a severe storm, take cover in a ditch or other type of low-lying area. Do not take cover under trees or power lines.

Severe storms often leave damage in the area. Stay at home after storms; do not go around town looking for damage; this kind of traffic affects emergency responders’ ability to help those needing assistance, and unneeded onlookers run the risk of injury or death from downed, energized power lines.

Police, fire, power company and cleanup crews will be responding to problems, and the less traffic they encounter allows them to perform their jobs more safely and reach those needing assistance more quickly.

There is a good chance that a severe storm will cause the interruption of electricity for a period of time and damage to your property.

In either case, it may be necessary for you to leave your home. Have a plan in place that will help to ensure the safety of you and your family.