Are you Tornado Ready?
The United States is the world capital of tornadoes because of our unique geography. On average, about 60 Americans are killed by tornadoes each year. Spring is the peak time for twisters, although they can happen during any season or at any time of day. Night time storms are especially dangerous, because you may not hear the sirens or see the warning signs. The following tips can help you and your family be prepared for tornadoes before they happen.
Difference in a Tornado Watch and a Tornado Warning
A tornado watch means that weather conditions are right for a tornado to form. If a tornado watch has been issued for your area, you should watch the weather closely, and turn on the local television or radio broadcast for updates.
A tornado warning means that one has been sighted on the ground near you. If a warning is in effect, you should seek shelter immediately.
The best way to be prepared is to make a tornado plan with your family. Draw out the floor plan of your home, and show multiple exits from each room. Mark where fire extinguishers and first aid kits are located, and identify the safest places in your home to wait out a storm.
Practice Makes Perfect
Practicing your emergency tornado plan is a great way to make sure everyone will remember it in an emergency. You can also review the siren warning system for your community and your children’s school dismissal policy.
Cut the Utilities
If a storm is approaching and you have the time, it is a good idea to turn off the utilities in your home. You can mark the location of shut off valves or switches on your emergency floorplan. Be sure everyone in the family knows how to turn off the gas, power, and water, and when they should do it.
Special Measures for Special Needs
Be especially aware of any special needs during an emergency. Keep a list of medical conditions and medications for each family member. Remember to help disabled or elderly neighbors if you have the chance.
Keep a battery-powered TV or radio with your emergency kit. This will help you to hear updates about the weather, even if the power goes out. Make sure you have spare batteries for long outages.