Friday, March 27, 2009
Blizzard conditions have moved into Kansas, forcing numerous road closures and resulting in multiple traffic accidents. The Kansas Division of Emergency Management (KDEM) has activated the State Emergency Operations Center in Topeka to provide state resources to counties if local conditions become overwhelming.
“We urge Kansans to avoid traveling today and tomorrow in areas impacted by the storm,” said Maj. Gen. Tod Bunting, the adjutant general and director of KDEM. “Road conditions can deteriorate quickly forcing closures and requiring travelers to find shelter. If you must travel, a full tank of gas and an emergency kit with food, water, medicine and blankets is critical.”
PREPARATION FOR THE STORM
Thursday, the agency began moving resources into place based on weather forecasts.
“We’re trying to stay ahead of the curve,” said Bunting. “We’ve looked at where the storm is expected to be the worst and pre-positioned some of our National Guard equipment and alerted several Kansas National Guardsmen to be ready to mobilize, if needed.”
“We’ve been in contact with county emergency managers across the state to ensure they know the process to ask for assistance and ensure good communication,” said Angee Morgan, deputy director of KDEM.
Resources the state could be asked to provide during this winter storm include health and welfare checks in rural areas with impassable roads, search and rescue, shelters, cots and water for shelters, communication support and generator support for critical infrastructure such as shelters, hospitals and nursing homes. (Generators are not available to individuals from the state or federal government).
If individuals do need to go to a shelter, take personal items including blankets and pillows because some shelters may only have cots. Listen to local media for information regarding shelter openings.
STATE EMERGENCY OPERATIONS CENTER
The State Emergency Operations Center is staffed with numerous state agencies monitoring the situation including Kansas Division of Emergency Management, Kansas Highway Patrol, Kansas Department of Transportation, Kansas National Guard, Kansas Department of Agriculture, Kansas Department of Health and Environment and American Red Cross.
Bunting also reminded people to make sure they have adequate food, water and other supplies to ride out the storm for at least three days, if necessary.
“Being prepared for any emergency is always a good idea,” said Bunting. “You may not lose power. You may not be snowed in. But it’s better to be prepared and not need it than to need it and not be prepared.”
Additional information regarding emergency kits is available at www.ready.gov and www.ksready.gov. Kansans may monitor road conditions by calling 511 or going to http://511.ksdot.org. If outside the state, call 1-866-511-5368 to get local road conditions.
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Thursday, March 26, 2009
Highway crews are beefing up across the state as they wait for the snow.
In Garden City workers are putting snow plows back on and getting all the trucks lined up. The Kansas Department of Transportation in that area says it is stocked up on sand and salt, and the drivers are ready to go.
The highway patrol is urging everyone to cancel travel plans for Thursday night through Saturday in the western part of Kansas. If things get back in central Kansas troopers say stay off the roads.