Keeping Your Family Safe During a Tornado

tornado damageSpring is here, and that means it’s time to start talking about tornado safety. Whenever the temperatures shift from cold to warm (or vice versa), the chances of a storm front that could produce a funnel cloud or a full-blown tornado increase drastically. And when you consider the serious damages to life and property that arrive from these powerful storms, it quickly becomes apparent that being prepared is of the utmost importance. Don’t become one of the thousands injured or killed by a tornado each year. The following safety tips will help keep you and your loved ones safe through the storm.

Stay Informed

It may not be possible to stay glued to the TV or radio at all times, but when the weather is inclement, it’s a good idea to keep your eye on the situation. Local news stations, NOAA, and weather-reporting websites will let you know when there is a tornado watch or a tornado warning. A watch indicates that, given the conditions, a tornado is probable but not imminent. Be prepared for changes in the weather that may arise, and stay close to home, if possible. A tornado warning, on the other hand, indicates that a tornado has been sighted in your area and that you should take shelter immediately.

Prepare in Advance

There’s no need to panic during a tornado warning if your family is adequately prepared. Getting ready before disaster strikes will help keep you and your loved ones feeling calm and secure during your hour of need. Assemble a disaster supply kit that will be kept in your shelter, in an area that everyone knows. Include a first aid kit, flashlights, extra batteries, food and water, blankets and pillows (should you need to spend the night in your shelter), a crank radio, and other essentials. Make sure you include supplies for pets, too. If you’re not sure what to include in your kit, visit the FEMA website for suggestions.

Consider Communications

What happens if a tornado strikes when one or more of your family members are not at home? After the storm has passed, your local area may experience problems with cellular communications and power outages that will prevent you from contacting one another. Making a plan in advance will ease your mind. Consider selecting a remote family member who will be your point of contact. Cellular phones may be unusable, but you and your family may be able to access a landline telephone to call a third party and “check in” as safe. You might also come up with a meeting point where you and your loved ones will assemble in the event that you are separated.

Always Know Where to Go

Whether you’re at home or away, you and your family should all understand how to seek the safest possible shelter in the event of a storm. At home, a tornado shelter, cellar, or basement is the safest place to be during a tornado. Those living in apartments or homes without basements should settle on an interior room with no windows, such as an interior bathroom or closet. If you are not at home, listen to instructions for where to go. Most stores and places of business have designated storm shelter areas that have been evaluated for maximum safety. Should no instruction come, seek out an interior room on the lowest floor of the building possible. If you are caught outdoors in a storm and it is not possible for you to safely seek shelter in a nearby structure, seek a low-lying ditch or valley, and lay as flat as possible, covering your head and neck for protection against flying debris.

Tornadoes are powerful, but they don’t have to be deadly. Knowledge is power and following these tips will help keep you and your family safe and secure should a disaster occur. For more tips on tornado safety or how to handle cleanup afterward, talk to the experts at Abbotts Fire & Flood.