In light of the most recent tornado outbreaks in Oklahoma, most people (including this guy) are asking themselves if they are truly prepared for severe weather. After seeing an F5 tornado level Joplin, Mo 2 years ago, and an F4 just do the same to Moore, Ok, I find myself wondering what else I can do to prepare my family. According to Ready.gov, FEMA's Natural Disaster Preparedness page, here are some things that you can do to make sure your family is in the best possible situation if bad weather comes to your area.
Listen to NOAA Weather Radio or to commercial radio or television
newscasts for the latest information. In any emergency, always listen to
the instructions given by local emergency management officials.
Be alert to changing weather conditions. Look for approaching storms.
Look for the following danger signs:
Dark, often greenish sky
A large, dark, low-lying cloud (particularly if rotating)
Loud roar, similar to a freight train.
If you see approaching storms or any of the danger signs, be prepared to take shelter immediately.
During a Tornado
If you are under a tornado warning, seek shelter immediately! Most
injuries associated with high winds are from flying debris, so remember
to protect your head.
If you are in:
A structure (e.g. residence, small building, school, nursing home, hospital, factory, shopping center, high-rise building)
Go to a pre-designated shelter area such as a safe room,
basement, storm cellar, or the lowest building level. If there is no
basement, go to the center of an interior room on the lowest level
(closet, interior hallway) away from corners, windows, doors, and
outside walls. Put as many walls as possible between you and the
outside. Get under a sturdy table and use your arms to protect your head
In a high-rise building, go to a small interior room or hallway on the lowest floor possible.
Put on sturdy shoes.
Do not open windows.
A trailer or mobile home
Get out immediately and go to the lowest floor of a sturdy,
nearby building or a storm shelter. Mobile homes, even if tied down,
offer little protection from tornadoes.
The outside with no shelter
Immediately get into a vehicle, buckle your seat belt and try to drive to the closest sturdy shelter.
If your vehicle is hit by flying debris while you are driving, pull over and park.
Stay in the car with the seat belt on. Put your head down below the
windows; cover your head with your hands and a blanket, coat or other
cushion if possible.
If you can safely get noticeably lower than the level of the
roadway, leave your car and lie in that area, covering your head with
Do not get under an overpass or bridge. You are safer in a low, flat location.
Never try to outrun a tornado in urban or congested areas in a car
or truck. Instead, leave the vehicle immediately for safe shelter.
Watch out for flying debris. Flying debris from tornadoes causes most fatalities and injuries.
After a Tornado
Injury may result from the direct impact of a tornado or it may occur
afterward when people walk among debris and enter damaged buildings. A
study of injuries after a tornado in Marion, Illinois, showed that 50
percent of the tornado-related injuries were suffered during rescue
attempts, cleanup and other post-tornado activities. Nearly a third of
the injuries resulted from stepping on nails. Because tornadoes often
damage power lines, gas lines or electrical systems, there is a risk of
fire, electrocution or an explosion. Protecting yourself and your family
requires promptly treating any injuries suffered during the storm and
using extreme care to avoid further hazards.
Check for injuries. Do not attempt to move seriously injured people
unless they are in immediate danger of further injury. Get medical
assistance immediately. If someone has stopped breathing, begin CPR if
you are trained to do so. Stop a bleeding injury by applying direct
pressure to the wound. Have any puncture wound evaluated by a physician.
If you are trapped, try to attract attention to your location.
General Safety Precautions
Here are some safety precautions that could help you avoid injury after a tornado:
Continue to monitor your battery-powered radio or television for emergency information.
Be careful when entering any structure that has been damaged.
Wear sturdy shoes or boots, long sleeves and gloves when handling or walking on or near debris.
Be aware of hazards from exposed nails and broken glass.
Do not touch downed power lines or objects in contact with downed
lines. Report electrical hazards to the police and the utility company.
Use battery-powered lanterns, if possible, rather than candles to
light homes without electrical power. If you use candles, make sure they
are in safe holders away from curtains, paper, wood or other flammable
items. Never leave a candle burning when you are out of the room.
Never use generators, pressure washers, grills, camp stoves or other
gasoline, propane, natural gas or charcoal-burning devices inside your
home, basement, garage or camper - or even outside near an open window,
door or vent. Carbon monoxide (CO) - an odorless, colorless gas that can
cause sudden illness and death if you breathe it - from these sources
can build up in your home, garage or camper and poison the people and
animals inside. Seek prompt medical attention if you suspect CO
poisoning and are feeling dizzy, light-headed or nauseated.
Hang up displaced telephone receivers that may have been knocked off
by the tornado, but stay off the telephone, except to report an
Cooperate fully with public safety officials.
Respond to requests for volunteer assistance by police, fire
fighters, emergency management and relief organizations, but do not go
into damaged areas unless assistance has been requested. Your presence
could hamper relief efforts and you could endanger yourself.
Inspecting the Damage
After a tornado, be aware of possible structural, electrical or
gas-leak hazards in your home. Contact your local city or county
building inspectors for information on structural safety codes and
standards. They may also offer suggestions on finding a qualified
contractor to do work for you.
In general, if you suspect any damage to your home, shut off
electrical power, natural gas and propane tanks to avoid fire,
electrocution or explosions.
If it is dark when you are inspecting your home, use a flashlight
rather than a candle or torch to avoid the risk of fire or explosion in a
If you see frayed wiring or sparks, or if there is an odor of
something burning, you should immediately shut off the electrical system
at the main circuit breaker if you have not done so already.
If you smell gas or suspect a leak, turn off the main gas valve,
open all windows and leave the house immediately. Notify the gas
company, the police or fire departments, or State Fire Marshal's office
and do not turn on the lights, light matches, smoke or do anything that
could cause a spark. Do not return to your house until you are told it
is safe to do so.
Safety During Clean Up
Wear sturdy shoes or boots, long sleeves and gloves.
Learn proper safety procedures and operating instructions before operating any gas-powered or electric-powered saws or tools.
Clean up spilled medicines, drugs, flammable liquids and other potentially hazardous materials.
Author:Michelle Cantrell Phone: 417-860-6505 Dated: May 21st 2013 Views: 417 About Michelle: Michelle is a native of Southwest Missouri and has twenty-five years of experience in selling real e...
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