Monday, May 10, 2010

Prepare: Tornado Safety

It's that time of year again. Tornado season. It may not end the world, but a tornado can sure end yours. Get started now on tornado safety before you end up on the six oclock news.

Tornados can happen anytime and anywhere. Unlike hurricanes or earthquakes, nearly every location is tornado country. I heard once there had been a tornado in every state on each day at one time or another, so everyone is at risk here.

Know the warning signals of a tornado. During a storm, pay attention to the weather alerts and keep a radio or TV on for up to the minute information. Generally, the conditions are strong persistent wind rotation, heavy rain or hail followed by calm or drastic wind shifts, and a loud rumble like thunder but that does not fade.

If at home, have a safe place designated now. That should be an interior room, hallway or bathtub. If you have a basement, all the better. Make sure you have mattresses, heavy blankets or sleeping bags for protection from debris handy.

At work or school, know the tornado drill and know where the safe places are located. Stay out of atriums, gyms, auditoriums or any type of arena.

Mobile homes and cars are no place to be in a tornado. Get out of the mobile home and seek shelter, even outside is safer than a manufactured home in a tornado. In the car? You cannot outrun a tornado. If you see one far off, move away from it. If it is too close, get out of the car (after pulling over to a safe location) and get to low lying areas like a ditch or culvert, if a building is not nearby.

When seeking shelter, keep you head coverered with your arms and lie face down on the ground. Find anything you can put over your head to protect yourself from flying debris.

When the tornado has passed, check yourself and others for injury. Help may not come for hours or even days, so you may be on your own. Be ready. Have stored food, water, a portable radio, flashlight and tools for extraction from debris.

Tornados are the real deal. Leave the "chasing" to the professionals and seek shelter immediately.

Ten years ago, my home was hit by a tornado.Strangely, it "bounced" from the neighbors house on one side to the other neighbors on the other side. My home suffered minimal damages, but the blast blew open every door and window in the house. We lost most of our trees and my car was crushed under three trees alone. We had no power for four days. It was not fun, but it was  a reminder, never underestimate the force of nature.

Do you have food insurance?

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