September 2, 2014

Frequently Asked Questions

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General Preparedness

Q: What is an Out-of-State contact?

A: Your Out-of-State contact is someone you call after a disaster who will then make calls for you to all relatives, and friends in order to reduce the telephone traffic. Be sure to notify these relatives of your out-of-state contact so that they will contact them first.

Q: In what should I store my water?

A: Store your water in thoroughly washed plastic, glass, fiberglass, or enamel-lined metal containers. Never use a container that held toxic substances.

Remember: Store at least 1 gallon per person, per day. Most families need 20 to 30 gallons.

Q: How can I purify outdoor water (rainwater, ponds, lakes, natural springs, streams and rivers)?

A: Purify water by boiling, disinfecting (household liquid bleach: 1/8 tsp/gallon. Stir and let sit for 30 minutes), or distillation (boil 1/2 pot of water and collect vapors by tying a cup to the upside down pot lid, the cup not dangling in the water).

Q: What about my pets?

A: Assemble items for your pets such as dry food, litter, large capacity feeder and water dispenser, extra medications. Food should be dry and relatively unappealing to prevent overeating. Store this food in sturdy containers.

Remember: Pets are not allowed in Sterling tornado and Red Cross shelters.

Q: How can I teach my children about Emergency Preparedness?

A: Take time with your children to talk about the dangers in our community, where those dangers are located, and how to avoid becoming a victim. Drill procedures at home such as fire evacuation, tornado sheltering, and assemble your 72-hour kits, car kits, and food/water storage. Some other resources are:

Q: How can I work on Emergency Preparedness for my business?

A: First, begin to identify the hazards that may exist in your facility, either due to hazards related to your location, chemicals on site, structural issues with your building, etc. Don’t forget to look at criminal instances as emergencies that can be prevented or mitigated by a good plan. Then identify procedures that will allow you to not only help prevent incidents, but ways that your business can recover quickly after any incident. Among the many resources available are the following:

Tornado Procedures

Q: Where are the tornado shelters in my area?

A: There are shelters located at the following locations in Sterling:

  • First English Lutheran Church, S 7th Ave. Fairhurst
  • First Presbyterian Church, 130 S 4th St.
  • Faith United Methodist Church, 230 Williams Pl.
  • First Christian Church – Disciples of Christ, 12915 CR 37
  • Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, 513 N 7th Ave.

Q: Where should I go during a tornado warning if I cannot get to a shelter, driving in my car, etc.?

A: When sheltering from a tornado, seek areas that have strong, vertical support. Avoid large rooms and auditoriums, windows, or structures that are not secured to a foundation. If possible, find a basement or crawlspace. If you do not have a basement, seek shelter in an interior hall or bathroom.

Remember: Most deaths from tornados occur from be struck by flying debris.

Q: What is a Safe Room?

A: A safe room is a room within your own home that is reinforced to provide additional structural support and protection from severe winds and tornadoes. Safe rooms can be constructed in basements, or within existing structures. Information concerning safe rooms can be found on the FEMA website, or by contacting the Sterling Office of Emergency Management.

Q: I cannot always hear the tornado sirens from inside my home? Why do we have them if I can’t hear them at home?

A: Outdoor warning sirens are designed for just that purpose, outdoor warning. Few of us will ever here the tornado sirens while in our own home. To be properly aware of tornado warnings, every home and business should employ a range of warning systems, including:

  • Warning Sirens
  • National Weather Service – Weather Radio
  • Cable Television Override
  • Subscriptions to digital pager services providing warnings
  • Local Radio
  • Police Scanners

Q: When are the sirens used?

A: Outdoor warning sirens in Sterling are used for two purposes: testing and tornado warning. Testing of the sirens occurs weekly on Fridays at 12:00 noon from April thru September. Tests will not be issued if there is any questionable weather, to eliminate any confusion. In emergency situations, the Sterling Emergency Communications Center will activate the sirens whenever the following takes place:

  • Tornado Warning from the National Weather Service has been declared for our area.
  • A tornado or funnel cloud has been confirmed in the area.
  • Weather conditions are severe enough, with approaching supercell storms, that officials anticipate severe, possible tornado, weather.

Q: Where are the sirens located in Sterling?

A: Outdoor warning sirens in Sterling are found at the following places:

  • Downtown above the old City Building at Poplar and 3rd Street
  • Cheairs Park
  • Pioneer Park Baseball Fields
  • Sterling Middle School/Sterling Baseball Organization Fields
  • Charmony neighborhood (Delaware & Logan)
  • I-76 on-ramp (behind the Overland Trail Museum)
  • Jellystone RV Park

CERT

Q: How can I join CERT?

A: Contact the Emergency Management Coordinator or the Sterling City Offices for an application. Your interest will be recorded and you will be advised of the next CERT training course.

Q: What if my organization, church, or business wants to sponsor a CERT?

A: Organizations wishing to sponsor a CERT can contact the Sterling/Logan Office of Emergency Management for assistance, including course materials, instructors, and team member equipment.

Q: What equipment does a CERT member use?

A: CERT volunteers are issued equipment to protect and identify them. Typically such equipment includes a hard hat, vest, first aid kit, goggles, particle mask, and flashlight. Some CERT sponsors may also issue additional equipment such as fire extinguishers, pry bars, or even communication equipment.