State officials urge residents to prepare for strong snow storm

With a third round of severe winter storms blowing into the state, state emergency management officials are reminding Kansans to take precautions."Winter storms can bring power outages and treacherous driving conditions," Major General Lee Tafanelli, director of the Kansas Department of Emergency Management, said in a prepared statement. "Now is the time to make sure you have everything you need to be self-sustaining in case power goes out in your area and roads become impassable."

Those preparations should include ensuring you have a safe alternate heat source; plenty of blankets; flashlights and batteries; battery operated radio; medications, nonperishable foods and food that can be prepared without heat and enough bottled water to last at least three days.

Those who have a gasoline generator should make sure it is in working order and that there is plenty of fuel on-hand.

"If you're traveling, make sure your car has an emergency kit, plenty of gas and your cell phone is charged," said Tafanelli. "It's a good idea to establish a calling network to check up on friends and family at regular intervals just to make sure everyone is okay."

State officials are making preparations to assist counties should local resources become overwhelmed.

"We're working closely with the National Weather Service and county emergency managers and are ready to provide state support should it be necessary," Tafanelli said.

The Kansas Division of Emergency Management coordinates with county emergency managers to allocate state emergency response resources when counties have exhausted their own resources. These resources come from a number of state agencies including the Kansas National Guard, Kansas Department of Transportation, Kansas Highway Patrol, Kansas Social and Rehabilitation Services.

Support may include providing generators for organizations which provide life safety – such as hospitals and nursing homes – transportation of emergency and medical employees to their place of work, health-and-welfare checks, search and rescue missions and opening armories as warming centers.