Preparedness Urged As Storms Threaten Arkansas

April 26, 2016
Blog Post

Saturday, April 30, is FEMA’s’s National PrepareAthon Day. But with severe weather on its way to the Fourth Congressional District Tuesday night (April 26) and Wednesday morning (April 27), I would like to take this opportunity to remind residents to always be prepared when disaster strikes.

According to, the following items should be in your emergency supply kit:

  • One gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation;
  • At least a three-day supply of non-perishable food;
  • Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both;
  • Flashlight and extra batteries;
  • First aid kit;
  • 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; and
  • Cell phone with chargers, inverter or solar charger.

The American Red Cross recommends you take the following action when a tornado warning has been issued:

  • Go to an underground shelter, basement or safe room. If these are not available, go to a small windowless interior room or hallway on the lowest level of a sturdy building;
  • Mobile homes are not safe during tornadoes. Do not seek shelter in the hallway or bathroom of a mobile home. If you can get to a sturdy shelter or vehicle, abandon the mobile home immediately and go to the nearest sturdy building, using your seat belt if driving. Do not wait until you see the tornado;
  • If caught outdoors, seek shelter in a basement, shelter or sturdy building. If you can’t get to one quickly, get into a vehicle, buckle your seat belt and try to drive to the nearest sturdy building; and
  • If driving, either stay in the car with the seat belt on and put your head down below the windows, covering with your hands and a blanket if possible. Or, if you can get noticeably lower than the level of the roadway, get out of the car and lie in that area, covering your head with your hands.

The threat from storms Tuesday night and Wednesday morning cannot be overstated. 5 News in Fort Smith has declared a Weather Alert Day for the western area of the Fourth District. “An outbreak of tornadoes and severe storms is expected across Oklahoma and Kansas late this evening. The threat will shift east after-dark,” 5 News Chief Meteorologist Garrett Lewis said. “Severe storms are likely as the line of storms moves into Arkansas late tonight.”

Be safe and prepare before the storm.