6 Step Guide to Surviving Tornado Season

Here in Oklahoma, we’re all pretty familiar with tornado safety.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z6cKPtcKcqs]

While I have laughed in the face of danger and I have been that person fearlessly watching the incredible forces of nature, I have also had to be that person taking shelter and terrified of not making it out alive.

I think that we all need some friendly reminders of appropriate tornado safety measures as the season approaches.

Before the Storm

1. Register Your Shelter

Did you know that if you have a storm shelter, you can register it? Call the Action Center at 405-297-2535 to do this. This way, if a disaster occurs the rescue team will know to look for you and where your shelter is located within the house if it is covered with debris. This doesn’t have to be an underground shelter, you may have a certain closet that you have designated as your shelter. Be sure that people will know where to look for you by registering it as well.

2. Be Prepared

Designate an area in your home as a shelter whether it is an underground structure, a closet, or a room that is in the center of your house.
If you have children, run tornado drills as the storm season approaches. Clarify the differences between “tornado watch” and “tornado warning.”
Have a meeting point  in case your family is separated during the tornado.
Always have your designated shelter area stocked with recommended supplies such as:

  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • Portable radio that runs on batteries (include extra batteries!) or uses a crank mechanism.
  • First aid kit
  • Emergency food and bottled water (don’t forget your manual can opener)
  • Essential medicines or prescriptions
  • Comfortable and sturdy closed toed shoes
  • A set of spare keys to vehicles
  • Personal identification
  • A disposable camera (for insurance purposes)
  • Pillows and blankets for cushioning

During the Storm

1. Take Cover!!

If you are at home, go to the the lowest level of your home. If you do not have a storm cellar or basement, choose a room that is central in your house and away from any windows. This may be a closet or even a bathroom. You should already have your tornado kit prepared.

2. Stay Covered

Don’t run back and forth from the window to your shelter to see what’s going on outside. I know it’s tempting, but remain in your shelter and use your radio to stay up to date with the storm’s location. Have everyone put their emergency shoes on. If the tornado strikes, protect your head and neck with pillows, blankets, and your arms.

After the Storm

1. Calm Down

Take a deep breath. Remember when you made that safety plan? Now’s the time to use it! Meet up with everyone if you were separated. If anyone is seriously injured, do not move them unless they are in danger of further injury and call 911. Help your neighbors that may be trapped or in need of assistance such as families with small children, people with disabilities, or the elderly.

2. Be Careful

If you smell gas or other chemical odors, LEAVE. Do not go into a building if it has been damaged. Once you’ve had a second to breathe and shake the jitters out, use your disposable camera to take pictures of the damage for your home owner’s insurance.

Stay safe this storm season!

Anya Taschereau
The Allen Group

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