DES MOINES, Iowa — Ahead of Tuesday’s storm Polk County Emergency Management is preparing as the area continues to recover from the tornado in March. The county said it is still assisting people in Runnells and Pleasant Hill. However, this time around, county staff say they’re better prepared for volunteers who want to help once the storm is over.

“We were able to establish a hotline [to] find out what the [community]needs were,” said Polk County Emergency Management Deputy Director Dutch Geisinger. “I think that’s going to be a best practice moving forward.”

The county encourages all Iowans to create a safety kit that includes a flashlight, water, and food that can last up to 24 to 48 hours. Next, stay inside during severe weather. Also, prepare a shelter plan for both you and your family. Lastly, the county said everyone should follow updated forecasts.

“A lot of people depend on the outdoor warning sirens, and that’s great if you’re outdoors, but [it’s] not designed to be heard indoors and so have those other additional layers like an app on your phone,” said Polk County Emergency Management Director A.J. Mumms.

If you hear the warning sirens, the county asks Polk County residents to refrain from calling 9-1-1, which is a phone number reserved for life-threatening emergencies.

Moreover, the county also said that if you experience a power outage, avoid calling 9-1-1 instead of contacting your utility provider.

To receive the latest storm updates in Polk County, click here.