Tornado Survival Tips
Tornado preparedness is a front-and-center issue not just for the central parts of North America known as Tornado Alley. Considering the tough economic times and limited response services, it's in the everyone's best interests that tornado preparedness is taken seriously.
Use these tornado survival tips to stay one step ahead of the storm.
Tornado Survival Tips: Get this App Right Now
As the skies grew dark this past weekend, my smart phone buzzed in time with a few lightning strikes in the distance. The free Red Cross app had alerted me our county was under a tornado watch.
This heads up changed our plans to travel later in the day. Instead, I worked with some neighbors to remove a dead tree next to our house. We'd been putting that to-do item off for some time. But priorities changed in an instant with that alert.
Click here to get the free tornado app from the Red Cross. You can set up alerts by ZIP code. It's one of the best tornado survival tips for today's digital world.
Tornado Survival Tips: Getting Ready
The following tornado survival tips about preparations are from Pat McHugh:
Plan how members of your immediate family will stay in contact if you are separated. Identify two meeting places: the first should be near your home if realistic, and the second place be away from your neighborhood in case you cannot return home.
Pick a friend or relative who lives out of the area for household members to call to say they are OK. Pick a safe place to meet if you are separated.
Make sure everyone in your household knows how and when to shut off water, gas, and electricity at the main switches. Consult with your local utilities if you have questions.
Reduce the economic impact that could be caused by any tornado on your property and your household's health and financial well-being. Review property insurance policies before disaster strikes. Make sure policies are current and be certain they meet your needs.
It is advisable to keep a small amount of cash or traveler's checks at home in a safe place where you can quickly gain access to it in case.
Consider ways to help neighbors who may need special assistance, such as the elderly or the disabled.
Make arrangements for pets. Pets are not allowed in public shelters. Service animals for those who depend on them are allowed.
Do emergency planning for people with special needs. If you, or a member of your family have a disability or special need, you may have to take additional steps to protect yourself and your household in an emergency. If you know of friends or neighbors with special needs, help them with these extra precautions.
- Hearing impaired may need to make special arrangements to receive a warning.
- Mobility impaired may need assistance in getting to a shelter.
- Households with a single working parent may need help from others both in planning for disasters and during an emergency.
- Non-English speaking people may need assistance planning for and responding to emergencies. Community and cultural groups may be able to help keep these populations informed.
- People without vehicles may need to make arrangements for transportation.
- People with special dietary needs should have an adequate emergency food supply.
Tornado Survival Tips: Riding Out the Storm
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) offers tornado survival tips on what to do during a storm. Here's a summary of this important advice.
In a Structure – Get to a safe room, as identified ahead of time at home or as directed by the operators of some other building. The idea is to get away from windows, glass and things that could fall. Put as much sturdy material between yourself and the outside.
In a Mobile Home – Grab your bug-out bag and head to the nearest emergency shelter.
In a Vehicle – Don't drive to an overpass or bridge. Don't try to outrun the tornado. Buckle up and head to a ditch or another low point in the terrain if getting to a shelter isn't possible. Once parked, get down onto the floor of the vehicle. Flying debris can shatter the windows and cause injury.
Outside – Take shelter in a low point in the geography. Avoid areas that could produce flying debris.
Tornado Survival Tips: Don't Open the Windows
A common myth about tornadoes is that opening a window will relieve pressure against the outside of a building, such as a home. That's like swapping a bear on the outside for a bear on the inside.
Strong winds could lift the roof of the structure once it gains entry. It's better to leave windows shut.
One final point. What do all home videos of tornadoes have in common? None of them use common sense. Get away from windows and into shelter. Flying debris doesn't give much warning before it comes through the glass.