Spring tornadoes are an important reminder to prepare

The Kansas City, Kan., Fire Department is offering suggestions for what to do before, during and after a tornado:

Before:
• Maintain an emergency kit or check list of emergency items to take with you.
• Develop a family communication plan in case your family is separated.
• Identify a safe shelter location. A basement is best, followed by interior rooms on the lowest level of the building away from windows. Mobile homes are often unsafe in a tornado – identify a neighbor’s house or public shelter where you can go if a tornado warning is issued.
• Obtain a NOAA Weather Radio to receive alerts about impending severe weather.
• Sign up for reverse telephone alerts for your county, and don’t forget to include your cell phone.
• Make sure you have sufficient insurance coverage – including flood insurance, which is separate from your homeowner’s policy.
• Photograph or video the contents of your home in case you need to file a claim.
• Store copies of your important documents in another location, such as a bank safe deposit box.
• Consider building a safe room inside your home.
During:
• Immediately go to your pre-identified safe shelter – there is no time to gather possessions.
• If possible, crouch under a sturdy piece of furniture, such as a table. Cover your head and neck with your hands and arms.
• If you are outside and no other shelter is available, get in a vehicle and drive to shelter if possible. Keep in mind that you won’t be able to outrun a tornado.
• If you must use a vehicle for shelter, keep your seatbelt on, cover your head and keep it below the window level.
• Do not use an overpass or bridge for shelter.
• If no other shelter is available, lie in a low spot and cover your head, but be alert for water filling the location.
After:
• Avoid downed power lines and leaking gas lines – report them to your utility company.
• Watch for broken glass, nails, and other sharp objects.
• Avoid damaged buildings until they are declared safe by officials.
• Notify your family that you are safe – phone lines may be down, so be prepared to send text messages.
• Check property for damage and contact your insurance company to file a claim, if necessary.

BPU to meet May 21

The Board of Public Utilities will meet at 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. Wednesday, May 21, at the board offices, 540 Minnesota Ave., Kansas City, Kan.

At the 5 p.m. work session, the agenda includes an update from the general manager and board; a presentation on paperless billing; and a Western Fuels Illinois update.

At the 6 p.m. regular session, on the agenda are a visitors time; Wyandotte Economic Development Council update; Nearman plant outage report; financial reports for the first quarter and for January-February; board comments, general manager comments, and an executive session.

Smith graduates from UNL

Adam Ryan Smith of Kansas City, Kan., was among more than 2,900 students who received degrees from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in ceremonies May 9-10.
Smith received a master of arts from the Division of Graduate Studies.
UNL awarded postgraduate degrees on May 9 and baccalaureate degrees on May 10 in ceremonies at Pinnacle Bank Arena. The graduates are from 46 states, the District of Columbia, Guam and 37 countries.