LA CROSSE, WI (WXOW)—The storms across the Midwest this weekend is a reminder of the importance of being prepared for severe thunderstorms and tornados, Keith Butler, La Crosse Emergency Management Director said.
Butler said having an emergency plan, knowing where to go, can help keep you calm during the storm.
"You want to be away from windows and doors," Butler said. "At the lowest level of your home or business that you can be and away from places where glass or flying debris might strike you."
He said if you're driving when a sever thunderstorm or tornado warning is issued you should find shelter in the nearest building, and if there isn't a building around get out of your car and lay in the lowest ditch you can find.
Butler said any place where people might be gathered should have an emergency plan.
Melissa Chelf, Valley View Mall Marketing Director said the mall monitors severe weather and will tell customers where and when to seek shelter.
"We ask shoppers not to leave because you don't want to be in cars when a tornado is in the area," Chelf said.
She said customer and mall employees should go to one of six interior corridors that are free of windows and glass.
Chelf said it's a good idea to be aware of where the corridors and emergency exits are in case you have to use them, but mall staff will be available to tell people where to go.
"When watches are issued that's the time that you put your plan into motion," Butler said. "And you start gathering what you may need to survive should that event occur and you just review all of your preparedness actions that you've taken."
Butler also recommends putting together an emergency kit to help you survive up to three days on your own.
He said you should have things like water, non-perishable food that doesn't need to be cooked, a flashlight, batteries, battery powered radio, first aid kit and pet food for your animals.
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