In part two of KEEL News' Severe Weather Preparedness Week series, I talked with Caddo-Bossier Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness Director Sandy Davis. He reminds us that we're coming up on the anniversaries of a couple of destructive tornadoes in this area -- and suggests we prepare ourselves for what meteorologists are predicting will be an active storm season.

So what do we need to do? First, we need to be aware of the potential for severe weather. Second, when the bad weather hits, stay out of it, if possible. "If we've got major rains or flooding going on, don't get out and sight-see," Davis says. "Only make trips that are absolutely necessary."

He also says we need to get our emergency supplies together: flashlights, extra batteries, weather radio, non-perishable foods and bottles of water. Of course, don't forget the manual can opener. And have your medications stocked up, so you won't have to go without those. And while you're gathering supplies for yourself, don't neglect your pets. They'll need plenty of food and fresh water, too.

Davis says if we're not directly impacted by storm damage, the biggest threat to us is when the power goes out. He says you should not use candles to light your home -- there's an issue with fires starting that way. It becomes more of an issue if there are small children or pets around.

What kind of plans are in place locally? "We always coordinate with all our major employers, our other governmental agencies -- to include our school boards -- and our sherriff's offices and police departments and fire departments and emergency medical services throughout the two parishes," Davis says. "Most of it is a situational awareness. We partner with the National Weather Service to keep us well-advised." And he says our U.S. Geological Survey folks keep him abreast of any flooding issues.

Davis says his office is also headed to local schools tomorrow to help the kids with their annual tornado drills.


Tomorrow, we'll chat with DOTD spokeswoman Susan Stafford to find out what transportation workers are doing to prepare. Tune in to Keel Morning News for that.