Preparedness Tip Wednesday: Tornado Safety Preparedness

Since it is tornado season here in Texas I decided that I would share some preparedness tips in regards to tornados.  We have been lucky through our years of living in the DFW area to have never had any severe damage to our home from a tornado.  I will never forget the opportunity I had when I was younger to go help with a disaster relief group after a series of big tornados hit a town in Oklahoma. There were houses that the only thing left was a closet and the rest of the house was leveled and then houses next door that appeared to have no damage other than the power being out. 

So I'm gonna start this post out with signs of a tornado, how the warning system works and ways to stay safe from the Old Farmer's Almanac another good resource is

Signs of Danger

  • A pale green sky is an indicator that a tornado may occur. No one knows why this is, but because tornadoes usually form in the afternoon, some people theorize that the longer red and yellow wavelengths of afternoon sunlight turn water-heavy, blueish clouds green.
  • The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) also advises to look out for the following danger signs: large hail, dark, low-lying clouds, and a loud roar, similar to a freight train.

Ways to Stay Safe

  • A tornado watch indicates possible tornadoes in your area. Stay tuned to the radio or television news.
  • A tornado warning means that a tornado is on the ground or has been detected by Doppler radar. Seek shelter immediately!
  • If you are indoors, take cover in the cellar or a small space (a closet or bathroom) in the interior of your home. Stay away from windows! 
  • If you are outdoors, find a field or ditch away from items that can fly through the air and lie down as flat as you can.
  • Do not stay in a car or try to drive away from a tornado. Cars can be flung about by high winds or crushed by debris.
  • If you have evacuated, do not return to your home until it is deemed safe to do so by local officials.
If you have a Tornado Warning make sure grab these things:
  • Grab your 72-hour kit (batteries, water, a well stocked first aid kit) and emergency radio
  • Lock your doors
  • If you have time, turn off all utilities
  • If it’s safe, move outdoor furniture and grills inside. They can be deadly flying debris.
  • Don't take shelter under a bridge or overpass if you are driving because these structures could be destroyed.
  • Don't open your windows. Keep the wind and rain outside.
  • Don't use matches, a candle or a lighter. An open flame can ignite leaking gas.

Assume the position 
The greatest danger during a tornado is being injured by flying debris. You probably remember the tornado drills of your elementary school days, during which you and your classmates calmly filed into the hall, got down on your knees, tucked your head and covered the back of your neck. The rules are still the same. You can stow blankets, old mattresses and couch cushions in your shelter to cover yourself with in the event of a tornado. If your bathroom is your shelter, grab some couch cushions, hop in the tub and cover yourself with them.

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