Grocery shoppers usually are prepared to answer just one question at the check out line: “paper or plastic?” In Iowa, though, if they choose paper, they can also answer questions like, “What do you do if you see a tornado?” because they’re likely looking right at the answer….on the sides of the bags filled with their purchases.
The severe weather tips printed on grocery bags are the work of the AMS Iowa State University chapter. It is one of the effective initiatives that recently earned them the AMS Student Chapter of the Year–they’ll be honored along with other 2011 AMS award winners at the upcoming AMS Annual Meeting in Seattle.
The students first provided tips advising what to do in the event of lightning, tornadoes, or flooding, in the Ames and Ankeny HyVee stores in April of last year. Chapter members came up with the idea two years ago as an easy way to increase community weather awareness. They teamed up with the Central Iowa Chapter of the NWA to create the bags and expanded the distribution through much of central Iowa, including the Des Moines metropolitan area.
The chapter plans to expand further this year, aiming to distribute these safety tips to all 220 plus HyVee stores throughout the Midwest, including in Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.