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Make Sure You Are Prepared For Tornado Season | Families

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Make Sure You Are Prepared For Tornado Season
Families, Weather
Make Sure You Are Prepared For Tornado Season

 

Tornadoes are nature's most violent storms. They can appear suddenly without warning and can be invisible until dust and debris are picked up or a funnel cloud appears. Planning and practicing specifically how and where you take shelter is a matter of survival. Be prepared to act quickly. Whenever we know severe weather is moving into the area, we move our bags into our shelter. That way, if it's time to take action we don't have to scramble to get things we need. Here are some tips from the CDC on how to keep you and your family safe during a tornado. 

Step 1: Get a Kit
  • Get an Emergency Supply Kit, which includes items like non-perishable food, water, a battery-powered or hand-crank radio, extra flashlights and batteries.
  • Store it in your shelter location
 Step 2: Make a Plan 

Prepare Your Family
  • Make a Family Emergency Plan. Your family may not be together when disaster strikes, so it is important to know how you will contact one another, how you will get back together and what you will do in case of an emergency.
  • Plan places where your family will meet, both within and outside of your immediate neighborhood.
  • It may be easier to make a long-distance phone call than to call across town, so an out-of-town contact may be in a better position to communicate among separated family members.
  • You may also want to inquire about emergency plans at places where your family spends time: work, daycare and school. If no plans exist, consider volunteering to help create one.
  • Determine in advance where you will take shelter in case of a tornado warning:
    • Storm cellars or basements provide the best protection.
    • If underground shelter is not available, go into an interior room or hallway on the lowest floor possible.
    • In a high-rise building, go to a small interior room or hallway on the lowest floor possible.
    • Stay away from windows, doors and outside walls. Go to the center of the room. Stay away from corners because they attract debris.
    • A vehicle, trailer or mobile home does not provide good protection. Plan to go quickly to a building with a strong foundation, if possible.
    • If shelter is not available, lie flat in a ditch or other low-lying area. Do not get under an overpass or bridge. You are safer in a low, flat location.
    • Plan to stay in the shelter location until the danger has passed.

 

Tornado Preparedness for Different Locations:

 

In an Apartment

If you live in an apartment that is on an upper floor, get to the lowest level of the building that you can immediately. This could be an underground parking garage or a neighbor's first floor apartment. You may not have enough tune to get to a lower level, so picking a place in the hallway in the center of your building is the best idea. A closet, bathroom or interior hall without windows is the safest spot in your apartment during a tornado. 

Once you have reloacted to your safe place, lie down on the floor and cover yourself up with pillows, blankets and even mattresses for protection. Wearing a bicycle or similar helmet witll help to protect your head from injuries.

For more information, check out this website for Apartment Safety.

In a Mobile Home 

DO NOT STAY IN A MOBILE HOME DURING A TORNADO. Mobile homes can turn over during strong winds. Even mobile homes with a tie-down system cannot withstand the force of tornado winds. 

Plan ahead. If you live in a mobile home, go to a nearby building, preferably one with a basement. If there is no shelter nearby, lie flat in the nearest ditch, ravine, or culvert and shield your head with your hands.

If you live in a tornado-prone area, encourage your mobile home community to build a tornado shelter.  

On the Road

The least desirable place to be during a tornado is in a motor vehicle. Cars, buses, and trucks are easily tossed by tornado winds.

DO NOT TRY TO OUTRUN A TORNADO IN YOUR CAR. If you see a tornado, stop your vehicle and get out. Do not get under your vehicle. Follow the directions for seeking shelter outdoors (see next section).

Outdoors

If you are caught outside during a tornado and there is no adequate shelter immediately available--

  • Avoid areas with many trees.
  • Avoid vehicles.
  • Lie down flat in a gully, ditch, or low spot on the ground.
  • Protect your head with an object or with your arms.

 

Long-Span Buildings

​A long-span building, such as a shopping mall, theater, or gymnasium, is especially dangerous because the roof structure is usually supported solely by the outside walls. Most such buildings hit by tornados cannot withstand the enormous pressure. They simply collapse.

If you are in a long-span building during a tornado, stay away from windows. Get to the lowest level of the building--the basement if possible--and away from the windows.

If there is no time to get to a tornado shelter or to a lower level, try to get under a door frame or get up against something that will support or deflect falling debris. For instance, in a department store, get up against heavy shelving or counters. In a theater, get under the seats. Remember to protect your head.

Office Buildings, Schools, Hospitals, Churches, and Other Public Buildings

Extra care is required in offices, schools, hospitals, or any building where a large group of people is concentrated in a small area. The exterior walls of such buildings often have large windows.

If you are in any of these buildings--

  • Move away from windows and glass doorways.
  • Go to the innermost part of the building on the lowest possible floor.
  • Do not use elevators because the power may fail, leaving you trapped.
  • Protect your head and make yourself as small a target as possible by crouching down.

 

Shelter for People with Special Needs

Advance planning is especially important if you require assistance to reach shelter from an approaching storm (see specific instructions in the next section).

  • If you are in a wheelchair, get away from windows and go to an interior room of the house. If possible, seek shelter under a sturdy table or desk. Do cover your head with anything available, even your hands.
  • If you are unable to move from a bed or a chair and assistance is not available, protect yourself from falling objects by covering up with blankets and pillows.
  • If you are outside and a tornado is approaching, get into a ditch or gully. If possible, lie flat and cover your head with your arms.
  Step 3: Be Informed

Familiarize yourself with the terms that are used to identify a tornado hazard.

  • A tornado watch means a tornado is possible in your area.
  • A tornado warning is when a tornado is actually occurring, take shelter immediately.
 Listen to Local Officials

In any emergency, always listen to the instructions given by local emergency management officials.

Finally, Everyone needs a weather radio. NOAA weather radios are the best way to receive warnings from the National Weather Service. By using a NOAA weather radio, you can receive continuous updates on all the weather conditions in your area. The range of these radios depends on where you live, but the average range is 40 miles. The radios are sold in many stores. The National Weather Service recommends buying a radio with a battery backup (in case the power goes off) and a tone-alert feature that automatically sounds when a weather watch or warning is issued. Tornado sires are intended to alert people who are outside. They do not always go off. Do not rely on them. Keep yourself safe and purchase a weather radio for you and your family. 

Thanks to Ready Arkansas for the information. 

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