Preparing for Storm Season
While about 1,200 tornadoes hit the United States every year (according to the latest
government statistics), Oklahoma City has more tornado strikes than any other U.S. city. With
tornado season officially upon us, that is spring and summer months, it’s good to know what to
expect, and how you can best prepare. Preparing for storm season won’t just help ease your
mind in a stressful situation, it can potentially save the lives of yourself and your loved ones.
Have a Plan. Know where you want to be, in your home, should a tornado warning be
issued. A basement or underground shelter room is the most ideal, but if you don’t have one of
those, you’ll want to designate the most interior room of your house as your ‘Shelter Room’.
FEMA recommends getting as low to the ground, and with as many interior walls around you as
possible. This could be a bathroom, a closet, or even a small hallway. Stay as far from glass
windows and doors, as possible.
Avoid mobile homes. If you reside in a mobile home, have a plan to go to a permanent
structure in the case of a tornado warning. You should preselect this structure so that you are
not having to make decisions under panic and stress. However, driving during a tornado is
dangerous, and should not be attempted if there is not enough warning time. Laying low in a
ditch or depression will be safer than driving on the roads, and certainly safer than being in a
Be prepared with a Tornado Kit. Every home should have a well stocked tornado kit
ready to go in a moments notice. You’ll want this to be stashed where it is easily accessible for
when a tornado warning is issued. Items to pack:
- Bottles of water for each family member
- Battery powered radio to listen for weather alerts
- Extra batteries for flashlights
- A first aid kit
- Prescription Medicines
- Spare set of car keys
Know the weather. Be aware of when the weather channels are predicting storms, or
when conditions might be right for tornadoes. Beyond that, it’s important to also know the
potential signs of a tornado as well. These can include:
- Dark, green lit sky.
- Wall cloud, or wall of debris
- Swirling, rotating clouds or winds
- Large hail in the absence of rain.
Act quickly. If a tornado watch is issued, you should move to a permanent, sturdy
structure, or within a few minutes of one. If a tornado warning is issued, you should quickly
retrieve your tornado bag, and proceed with your tornado plan. Grab your pillows and blankets,
and get immediately to your shelter room. Do not leave your shelter room until the warning has
passed, and you’ve heard the all clear message on your radio. If a tornado does strike, cover
your head and neck with your blankets, pillows, and your hands.
Have an aftermath plan. Have a designated spot to meet your family, that everyone is
aware of, in case you’re separated from each other during the event. If someone is injured, do
not move them, unless they are in imminent danger of further injury. Help any neighbors or
elderly citizens, but be aware of broken gas lines or possible fire hazards.
Above all, you want to remain calm before, during, and after a tornado strikes. Being prepared
for storm season will allow you to act quickly and efficiently, without having to make excessive
decisions under stress. Having a plan can quicken your response time, ensure safety measures are
taken, and quite possibly save lives.
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