Tornadoes are the most common and violent natural disasters there are. Over 1,000 happen in the United States every year and they can happen during any month and in any state. There have even been tornadoes in Hawaii and Alaska!
You can start preparing now. Designate a space in your home that will be your tornado safe space. This should be in an interior room on the lowest level of a permanent building. If you live in a mobile home, have a shelter or place you can go during severe weather. You should stock your safe space with everything you might need. Keep in mind you may end up there for a few days. Some things you should have are listed below.
- At least 3 gallons of water, per person for drinking and hygiene.
- Non-perishable food items such as canned vegetables or meat.
- First Aid kit with bandages, sterilizer like hydrogen peroxide or rubbing alcohol, healing ointment such as Neosporin.
- Hand crank or battery operated radio along with a NOAA Weather Radio.
- Flashlights for each person.
- Extra batteries.
- Whistle to let search teams know where you are.
- Comfort items such as photographs, blankets, pillows, and kids’ toys.
A TORNADO WATCH means that conditions are favorable for tornadoes. Take this time to make sure your tornado safe space is fully stocked and all food items and medication aren’t expired. Go over your plan with all adults and children in the house to make sure they know what to do. When a tornado warning is issued, you will have very little time to react. Sometimes only minutes. Keep an eye on weather forecasts and have a way to receive warnings as they are issued.
A TORNADO WARNING means a tornado is already occurring or will occur soon. This is too late to prepare. You need to go to your tornado safe place immediately. Stay there until the threat has completely passed and it is safe to come out. After the the tornado has passed, evacuate as there may be structural damage. Assess any damage your house may have sustained. Look for things like broken windows, loose shingles or siding, downed power lines, fallen trees, etc. Never touch power lines. Even if you know they are not live, transformers may try to turn back on and you may be fatally shocked. Call your local authorities or the power company and stay clear of them. Be sure to restock any supplies you may have used while in your tornado safe space.
Be sure to go over your plan with your family and make sure they know what to do when a Tornado Warning is issued.
Published on September 8th, 2019 at 8:00am CDT.