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Don't get caught in a storm without your helmet and tennis shoes

Wednesday, May 7, 2014



MANHATTAN — With severe weather on the way, it's important to have a plan. A Kansas State University climatologist says that plan should include an emergency kit, including a helmet and tennis shoes.

"The best warning in the world with the most advance knowledge is not going to help if people don't proactively respond to that and seek the shelter that they need," said Mary Knapp, service climatologist in the university's agronomy department.

Tornadoes have already taken several lives this year, and severe weather season is far from over. Knapp says it is critical to have a severe weather plan for you and your family, not only for your home but other places you are throughout the day like work and school. Also have an emergency kit ready to go. The kit should include food, water, a weather radio, cash and your medication. Having some type of helmet nearby also is useful.

"When they did an analysis of the Joplin tornado, one of the things that came to the attention of emergency management professionals was that there were a lot of head injuries," Knapp said. "So put a bicycle helmet or another kind of protective head gear on during a tornado to reduce the risk of head injury from debris or falling structures."

Knapp suggests getting underneath a sturdy support to avoid the debris during a tornado. Also, put on some tennis shoes to prepare for the large amount of debris following the storm.

"After an event like that, there's a lot of broken glass all over the place," Knapp said. "It can be in the carpet, it can be in the grass. Having sturdy shoes is your best protection. By sturdy shoes I don't mean flip-flops, I mean tennis shoes or boots."

Keep in mind that tornadoes are not the only threat that comes with severe weather. Flash flooding, hail and heavy winds also can be hazardous, so keep your eye on the sky and always have a plan.


Mary Knapp

Written by

Lindsey Elliott

At a glance

Kansas State University climatologist advises to wear head protection during a tornado to avoid head injury.