It’s Tornado Season—what’s Your “Duck and Cover” Plan?

– L. Arthalia Cravin

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Well, the local weather folks are forecasting severe “and possible” tornados for later this week. What this forecast means is that it is time to get your own household disaster plan. Even without a “heads up” what we already know is that tornado season can be almost any time of year. Recently tornados have hit at unusual times in unexpected places. So, as they say, it’s pays to “be ready.”

So what if come later this week, or whenever, ominous clouds darken our skies, and God forbid, the tornado siren sounds off. Do you know what to do? Do you know what to do if you are at work or at home? What if you are at work and your children are at home alone? Do they know what to do? All school districts have a plan for such emergencies, but what if the kids are not in school and you are not there to protect them? Do you know what to do if you are driving and a tornado forms? Do you what to do if you live in a mobile home? Do you have a weather radio?

An underground storm cellar is the safest place to “duck for cover” in case of a tornado. Lots of people have these shelters somewhere near the house underground. But even if you do have a cellar when did you last check to see if it is safe for you to enter? Any critters down there that you may not want to meet up with in case you have to take shelter? Do you have flashlights, batteries, first aid, water, some type of foodstuff, shoes—especially shoes so that if a tornado does strike and you flee barefoot you can at least protect your feet when you emerge? What about some extra clothes, especially heavy duty work gloves in case you have to move stuff that has fallen on your house or other property. If you have to duck for cover what do you need to grab and take with you–your purse, your camera, your cell phone, important documents re insurance contacts? Do you have a box or suitcase somewhere already packed with important items that you can easily grab and run? We’ve all seen after-storm pictures where houses have been blown to pieces and important papers and documents are scatters for blocks or miles. This might be a worse case scenario, but this is precisely the kind of thinking to engage in now—before the worse happens.

The following information appears at an online site regarding “what to do in case of a tornado.”

If a warning is issued or if threatening weather approaches:

  • In a home or building, move to a pre-designated shelter, such as a basement.
  • If an underground shelter is not available, move to an interior room or hallway on the lowest floor and get under a sturdy piece of furniture.
  • Stay away from windows.
  • Do not try to outrun a tornado in your car; instead leave it immediately.
  • If caught outside or in a vehicle, lie flat in a nearby ditch or depression.
  • Mobile homes, even if tied down, offer little protection from tornadoes and should be abandoned.
  • Occasionally, tornadoes develop so rapidly that advance warning is not possible. Remain alert for signs of an approaching tornado. Flying debris from tornadoes causes most deaths and injuries.

It’s up to you!

Each year, many people are killed or seriously injured by tornadoes despite advance warning. Some did not hear the warning while others received the warning but did not believe a tornado would actually affect them. The preparedness information in this section combined with timely severe weather watches and warnings could save your life in the event a tornado threatens your area. After you have received the warning or observed threatening skies, YOU must make the decision to seek shelter before the storm arrives. It could be the most important decision you will ever make!

Copyright 2013 – L. Arthalia Cravin. All rights Reserved. No part of this commentary may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without written permission from the author.

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