Talking it over -- 7-1-10
During the last few weeks we have seen the results of severe weather conditions. Sometimes as we listen to forecasts and watch the clouds we tend to not take the predictions seriously. Perhaps that is because we have far more warnings and watches than we actually have bad storms.
However, that does not mean we should become lackadaisical when we hear about approaching bad weather. Taking the time to watch, listen and act could just save your life.
Last Friday night I was in a building with about 500 other people when we heard sirens going off. It was difficult to see outside so we were not able to look for the signs of approaching tornados or strong wind, rather we had to rely on those sirens and the watchful eyes of others.
There were no loud speaker announcements. Instead we were slowly approached by staff members and asked to walk to a center room of the building that was built as a storm shelter. Once there we were ushered into hallways and some to the basement to wait out the storm.
The plan and reaction of both the public and the employees was non-threatening, calm and very slow. No one showed panic or even concern. Most were just plain upset that the situation interrupted their evening.
The time from when we heard the sirens until everyone was safely huddled in hallways was about 30-45 minutes. It was definitely a slow process to get everyone to safety and I kept thinking to myself that if a tornado was actually approaching, it would have hit by the time we were all safe. When it comes to warnings you just don't know what could happen and it is better to be prepared.
Eventually we were all released from the storm shelter and allowed to safely venture about. Even though it took about an hour out of our normal routine for the night, it was a relief that someone was out there watching, waiting and ready to protect while others are unaware of the circumstances around us. I was also really happy that there had been a plan in place and a safe room ready for these types of situations.