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Tornadoes are destructive funnels of rapidly spinning air that originate from thunderstorms and conditions that cause dry, cold air to meet warm, moist air. These natural phenomena are incredibly powerful, and should never be treated lightly.
With this in mind, let’s take a look at how you can prepare for a tornado, including where you should shelter, which medical equipment and supplies you should have on hand, and much more.
Have a Plan
Every family can benefit from taking the time to prepare their loved ones for a tornado. When creating a tornado drill, you should identify your family’s tornado shelter and make sure everyone knows how to get to it. The safest place to shelter within your home will be the bottom floor or basement.
The ideal shelter is a room without windows. Consider a bathroom or laundry room within your basement. You may consider having your family take cover beneath sturdy items such as large desks and tables. Take additional safety measures by covering family members with a blanket to minimize the risk of injury from potential debris.
There is no better way to stay informed on weather updates and potential emergency warnings than by tuning into your local weather station. If a tornado warning is published, it is important that you listen to local broadcasting for any updates while also paying attention to visible signs.
Some tornados may appear with little to no warning at all. Therefore, throughout any thunderstorm, you should remain alert to extremely dark or green-colored skies as well as large, low-lying clouds. If you hear the infamous roar of a tornado, which has been compared to the sound of a freight train, you must take cover immediately.
Build a Bag
It is best to have all of your emergency supplies located in one central location. Ideally, you will want to build a go-kit by filling it with only the supplies you would need in immediate response to an emergency. During a tornado, you may need fresh batteries, flashlights, water, non-perishable food, medication, emergency contact numbers, emergency medical supplies, and a whistle. If there is room, you could consider packing a single change of clothes for each family member or extra layers for warmth.
Properly Maintain Your Home
Ensure any debris around your home is disposed of in preparation for storms. You need to deal with any objects which could be picked up by a tornado and become a projectile. This may include large branches, rocks, trashcans, yard tools, or outdoor furniture.
Ideally, you will want to store tools and outdoor furniture in an enclosed storage facility, such as a shed or enclosed patio. If this is not possible, consider bringing these items into your home prior to a storm’s arrival.
Identify a rally point where family members should meet once it is safe to do so. This could simply be the large tree in your front yard or the end of your driveway. It will be much easier to gain accountability of all family members if they are aware of where to meet following an emergency situation.
It is also important to have emergency medical supplies on hand in order to treat injuries as needed. Such emergency supplies include gauze, pressure wraps, splints, scissors, alcohol wipes, and any medication required by family members.
There you have your emergency preparation checklist and plan, so you're ready for the next tornado or storm. While It's our hope that you will never need to apply this knowledge, it's always better to play it safe by having a plan in place.