WICHITA, Kan. — Emergency crews across Kansas are preparing for what could be the area’s first significant weather event for the spring weather season this year.
Officials with Sedgwick County told KSN 9-1-1 response is set to call in crews this weekend if severe weather hits the Wichita area.
“We’ll have people already on call that have the heads up that you might receive the call and we’re going to need you now,” said Kim Pennington, the director of Emergency Communications for Sedgwick County.
The Wichita Fire Department and EMS had their incident action plans in place Friday and are prepared for potentially severe weather.
As the spring social scene picks up, along with the severe weather season, emergency officials told KSN that it’s even more important to have a plan, especially on prom night.
“There’s a potential for un-chaperoned kids to be caught in it and be frantic and calling 9-1-1 so… It’s how to keep them calm and what to tell them to do,” said Pennington.
Four high schools in the USD 259 district will host their proms Saturday. East High School and Metro Meridian High School will host their proms at their school buildings, which reportedly both have safe rooms. North and West High Schools will host their prom dances at separate locations, off site.
We are told that arrangements have been set up with the host locations, in case inclement weather hits during the dances.
Susan Arensman, with Wichita Public Schools, told KSN that the district realizes that it is spring and prom season. Two years ago, when the tornado touched down at Spirit Aerosystems, prom goers reportedly took cover in the basement during the dance.
Kansas Highway Patrol troopers are also reminding their followers on Twitter to keep an eye to the sky, throughout prom festivities.
KSN Chief Meteorologist Dave Freeman emphasized the importance of having a plan in place, especially with any large event. Freeman believes organizers of any community event have a moral responsibility to be prepared in the case of emergencies.
“It’s very difficult to get large groups of people moving… so, how are you going to do that?” he asked.
KSN has calls in to the several organizations hosting events this weekend in Wichita and the surrounding areas that could potentially be impacted by severe weather. Most organizations told KSN that until more severe weather alerts come in, their activities will stay “as scheduled,” for the time being.
KSN will keep you updated online with any changes and/or cancellations that come into our newsroom, on ksn.com and on Facebook.
Sedgwick County: (10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.)
Locations: Sedgwick Co. Zoo, Household Hazardous Waste Center, and Oaklawn Activity Center
Civil War Day (10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.)
Salvation Army Seeking Volunteers for Disaster Relief Services Team (8:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.)
Where: Wichita City Command
350 N. Market Street
Wichita, KS 67202
YMCA Hosts Community Water Safety Day (1:00 – 4:00 p.m.)
The Midway-Kansas Chapter of the American Red Cross distributed a press release Friday urging Kansas to prepare for severe weather. In it, after dark on Saturday evening is identified as identified as the “biggest threat” for some parts of the state.
“By preparing together for severe thunderstorms, we can make our families safer and our communities stronger,” said Bev Morlan, Executive Director of the local Red Cross. “We can help you and your family create a disaster preparedness plan now, before our community is threatened by high winds, hail, lightning, excessive rainfall and even tornadoes.”
For more information about the Red Cross, visit Midwaykansas.redcross.org