Springtime is our second active severe weather and tornado season. Were you aware that Brandon is a StormReady city and the Brandon Amphitheater is designated as a Weather- Ready Nation Ambassador? The city of Brandon received recognition in June of 2000, as being the first Storm Ready community in Mississippi from the National Weather Service. The National Weather Service StormReady program is aimed at arming America’s communities with the communication and safety skills necessary to save lives and property. A Weather-Ready Nation is about preparing our community’s increasing vulnerability to extreme weather and water events and a commitment to engaging in dialog with the National Weather Service. Over the years we have developed a close working relationship with the National Weather Service and appreciate all their assistance.
In 1992, a destructive F4 tornado hit Brandon and claimed the lives of ten people while injuring 86. In 2000, the City developed an action plan to respond to the threat of severe weather. Since then, we have had three or more damaging tornadoes in Brandon. Our goal was to develop a formal severe weather plan and establish an emergency operations center. When Brandon experiences any type of severe weather or hazard that can affect our city, regardless of the time of day, we open the Emergency Operations Center. Having the EOC open allows us to closely monitor storms and distribute information to our citizens. The Brandon Emergency Support Unit (our partner Citizens Emergency Response Team) is a major contributing part in assisting with severe weather. Without these men and women donating their time and skills, our Emergency Operations Center would not be as successful as it is now. We are proud to have them on our team.
There are several ways to receive severe weather information if there is a weather threat to our city:
- Social Media – Follow the Brandon Fire Department on Twitter and Facebook for all weather updates.
- Outdoor warning sirens – These sirens sound when we have a tornado warning issued for our city. To determine if Brandon is in the warning area, we use information sent out by the Jackson National Weather Service. If we are located in the warning issued polygon, we sound the sirens. Outdoor warning sirens are for outdoor use only and are not designed to be depended on if you are inside.
- NOAA Weather Radios – These are worth the investment.
- Local TV and Radio
- Wireless emergency alerts and weather apps
If you are under a Tornado Warning, find safe shelter right away:
- If you can safely get to a sturdy building, then do so immediately.
- Go to a safe room, basement, or storm cellar.
- If you are in a building with no basement, then get to a small interior room on the lowest level.
- Stay away from windows, doors, and outside walls.
- Do not get under an overpass or bridge. You’re safer in a low, flat location.
- Watch out for flying debris that can cause injury or death.
- Use your arms to protect your head and neck.
- Rankin County FEMA safe room is always opened once a tornado watch is issued. It is located at 651 Marquette Rd.