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Ankeny Fire Department Educates Community on Severe Weather Safety

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ANKENY, Iowa –- The Ankeny Fire Department is unveiling a new tool to educate the community on severe weather safety.

Its new ‘Fire Safety House’ allows the department to educate people on fire, tornado, and hurricane safety.

Ankeny firefighter and Public Education Coordinator Karen Peters said the community needs to take any emergency siren seriously.

“They need to be prepared and take warnings seriously. Often, people think well there are so many warnings that it never hits us that they don’t feel the need to take warning. They need to take warning seriously every time, because they are very unpredictable. You don’t know when it is going to change path and suddenly be right on top of you,” Peters said.

The tornado scenario lasts five minutes. It begins with someone watching TV, followed by interrupted programming and the news comes on explaining severe weather in the area.

As the meteorologist is explaining the weather path you hear hail, rain, and lightning hit the building.

TV programming comes back on as the storm progresses. Peters explains the difference between a tornado watch and tornado warning to people inside the scenario.

A tornado watch is when weather is severe and people should be aware that a tornado is possible.

Peters said a tornado warning is when there have either been sightings of a tornado touching down or it comes up on the radar.

“That is when the tornado sirens are sounded. That’s when the warning sounds on the weather radio, and that is when everyone needs to immediately get to that safe place. Get to their basement, get to their interior room and remain there until the tornado warning has been cleared,” Peters said.

Peters said people should go to the lower level of the building they are in. For some it may be a basement, for others it is the first floor in a room with no windows and four solid walls.

Some things to keep in the house in case of a tornado include: weather radio, flashlight, extra batteries for radio, water and canned or dried food.

Scouts and babysitters learn what to do in case of an emergency through the fire safety house. It will be available for people to experience during EMS week at the end of May.

People can call and schedule a private tour and learn more about what to do in case of an emergency at 515-965-6469.

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