National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week: Severe Weather Awareness

This week is National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week, a time to celebrate, recognize and thank those who are an important part of the public safety world.

Dispatchers are the unseen heroes who send help during catastrophic times, who ask the right questions to solve the scariest of problems and connect us all to the people who have made it their life's work to keep us safe.

Nobles County Dispatcher Joe Reith spoke recently about severe weather, and what people need to know when weather is imminent. According to Reith, the sirens in Nobles County are sounded on the first Wednesday of every month as a test to make sure everything is working.

He suggested that people be aware of the weather around them, and preparing for bad weather is something that needs to be done in advance. Trailer parks, campgrounds and apartment complexes generally have a shelter set aside for protection, so it is important for new residents to know where that safe spot is before a tornado comes. Park, apartment and trailer park managers have that information, and will share it with residents.

According to Reith, a tornado warning is the most serious, and means that you should take shelter immediately. When a member of the public or a trained spotter reports a tornado, sirens are sounded in the direction the tornado is headed. Members of the public can report a tornado on the ground or a funnel cloud be calling 911. Reith said if someone is out and about and doesn't have immediate shelter, they should go to the lowest lying area - one that won't be flooded by heavy rains.

A watch means the potential for a severe weather event exists. Keeping track of the weather by radio, smart phone app or Nixle is the best way to be aware of changing storm patterns.

Anyone can sign up for Nixle alerts by going to the Nobles County webpage at

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