Revisiting Tornado Preparedness
Tornado preparation is an important reality in the Midwestern U.S. Tornadoes are devastating forces that require comprehensive preparation year round. States that have large numbers of annual tornado outbreaks are familiar with tornado preparation and response, but many other states susceptible to tornadoes often lack the same level of preparation. In areas where outbreaks of tornadoes are less common, but still possible, preparation often takes a back seat to other things and may even be non-existent. When a tornado strikes, however, any preparation may end up being better than doing nothing. Here are a few useful tornado preparation tips that can be done anytime to prepare for a severe storm.
Create an Emergency Response Kit
One of the most important things you can do in anticipation of a tornado, or any other disaster, is create an emergency response kit. These kits can help you cope with a disaster before and after by keeping you healthy and relatively comfortable during a difficult time. Pack survival essentials in these kits for you and your family. Things like: non-perishable food, water, medication, first aid kits, blankets, flashlights, lanterns, batteries, radio, and any other important items are the backbone of any good emergency preparedness kit. Keep these kits up to date and keep them in a convenient location for easy and quick access during an emergency.
Addressing weaknesses and potential hazards around your home can help mitigate damages during a tornado. Clear your yard of debris and relocate objects that could become projectiles in high winds. Though little can be done to evade damages from a direct hit, reinforcing windows and doors, and removing damaging items from the open can help protect your home from the high winds associated with a severe thunderstorm or excess winds from a nearby tornado. In anticipation of a tornado, you should always take steps to organize the exterior of your home and protect windows and doors from damage. Boarding windows can help protect them from airborne debris, but you should be prepared to relocate to a safe, low lying part of the house if winds get intense. Stay away from exterior windows and doors.
Tornadoes can level entire towns, so before a storm occurs you should know how to respond to the aftermath. Anticipating some level of damage to your home and surrounding property is sensible, but you should also have an evacuation response to get out of the home and to a designation shelter. Plan ahead and verify the names and locations of emergency shelters. Transportation may be compromised, so have a plan for getting to help and be prepared with a disaster preparedness kit to survive in the absence of immediate relief. A good plan is to keep these kits in a designated storm shelter or interior room where you may seek refuge, along with any maps and communication devices you can use to get to help as soon as possible after a storm. Access to food, water, and medication in the short term is very important until you can get to emergency relief, so make this a top priority in your planning.