Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Southlake Family Heeds Tornado Sirens, Text Alerts, Prevents Injuries

Violent storms and a rotating wall cloud rolled through Southlake last week, and the Southlake Emergency Operations crew monitored and reported the weather to you step by step.  As the storms approached, the tornado siren was set off to alert anyone outdoors to immediately seek shelter inside, preferably in a windowless room situated as close as possible to the center of the house.  The Alert Southlake app then texted out a message reiterating the need to seek shelter.

Natalie Merkord, a Southlake resident, heard the sirens sound.  Her sick 3-year old was laying on some blankets and pillows in the living room watching television, so she scooped him up and called her other child to the downstairs bathroom, where they all got into the bathtub.  After a few minutes, the siren turned off and they exited the bathroom to grab some shoes and bicycle helmets (just in case there was a tornado and there was debris).  While she gathered some quick essentials, she put her sick child back on his red sleeping bag by the television.  Around that time, she received the second alert from her Alert Southlake text message and everyone once again got back in the bathroom.

Less than a minute later, as she was on speaker phone with a relative, she heard an explosion from the living room.  She smelled smoke, so she grabbed the kids and ran to a neighbor’s house, calling 911.  Dispatch sent Southlake Fire to her house and found that lightning had struck the chimney, causing it to explode and shoot debris where her 3-year old had previously been resting.  A fire had started, but extinguished itself before firefighters arrived.

Southlake Fire helped comfort the family, as well as assess damages and make sure there were no other hazards.  Firefighters were extremely thankful that the family had heeded the warnings and been weather aware during this dangerous time, and Natalie said SFD’s “efforts and kindness will never be forgotten.”

Please remember to monitor social media, news stations, radios, and other outlets when the threat of dangerous weather looms.  Sign up for Alert Southlake at https://www.cityofsouthlake.com/2557/Sign-Up-For-Alerts.  If you have time, please make sure to sign up your elderly neighbors and parents who may not pay as much attention to social media, so that they can be properly alerted as well.

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