WEM issues reminder on severe weather and community shelters
By City Times staff
MADISON – Wisconsin Emergency Management (WEM) reminds Wisconsin residents that community shelters may not be available during severe weather conditions.
“With severe weather season underway in Wisconsin, it’s essential that people reevaluate their planning and anticipate the effects COVID-19 could have on where they take shelter,” a department release said. “While it is important to practice good social distancing, ReadyWisconsin encourages everyone to make sure that doesn’t prevent them from seeking safety during a severe thunderstorm or tornado warning.’
“While COVID-19 remains a serious threat to public health, severe weather also poses a major risk to the safety of everyone in its path,” said Dr. Darrell L. Williams, Wisconsin Emergency Management administrator. “While we do want people to practice safe social distancing when possible, that should never stop them from going to a shelter during a dangerous weather event.”
With many people relying on public facilities for shelter during a severe weather event, residents should be aware that many community shelters, such as government-maintained buildings, may be closed due to COVID response.
“Any decision to keep those facilities open to the public is at the discretion of the agency that owns and maintains those locations,” the department added. “If someone typically relies on a community shelter during a severe weather event, WEM encourages them to verify the status of that location and adjust their plans accordingly. This should be done before there is severe weather in the forecast and before any warnings are issued.”
WEM also advises that residents ensure their phone is equipped to receive Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) and purchase a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) All Hazards Weather Radio with battery backup for your home and office.