KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Spring means more severe weather in East Tennessee, which is why the director at the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency is sharing some advice and tips to help keep families safe.

TEMA director Patrick Sheehan explained there are a handful of actions families can take right now. He said it all starts with being aware of the weather conditions and paying attention to the local forecast. Sheehan also encouraged people to have a severe weather plan and practice it, making sure any emergency supplies are ready to go. He said this can be especially important in Tennessee, which is more prone to overnight storms.

Sheehan spoke about his own family’s plan for severe weather.

“Usually I am at work when these kinds of things are imminent or known to be widespread, so my wife and our four kids go ahead and prepare our lowest level interior room, windowless interior room of our house, for us that’s a half bathroom on the first floor,” Sheehan said.

“We generally put bike helmets in there, and a flashlight, and something to charge a cell phone, and maybe some blankets or other things for comfort if it’s going to be a while,” he continued. “We just go ahead and try to prepare that space, we encourage everyone to do that same thing.”

TEMA also recommends cutting down any trees that could fall on your home throughout the spring season.

Sheehan also shared how he talks to his children about severe weather, saying he believes honesty is the best policy.

“Our kids just know that they may get woken up and asked to move quickly downstairs,” he said. “Everyone has a role to play we just talk about it matter-of-factly and my kids range in age from 4 to 13, so they kind of run the gamut in terms of comprehension.”

Sheehan encourages families to have discussions and make plans, saying it would save lives when they only have minutes to move into their safe space.