Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Tornado Season

I know it is a little early, Winter isn't even totally gone yet but, tornadoes do happen this early in the year.  My home was destroyed on March 10, 1986.  Thankfully, no one was hurt in our area and we were insured.  We weren't even home but it made me very aware that had we been home, we had no clue what to do.  We weren't prepared.  

Tornadoes happen so randomly that we tend to take it for granted that we are safe.  But if those sirens go off and there is a tornado on the ground, are you ready?  Do you know what to do?  Where to go?

I am not an expert by any means, but do some checking.  Find the safest spot in your home.  Obviously, a basement is the best but if you don't have one, find somewhere that will offer you the best protection.  This site from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a great section entitled "During a Tornado" that has wonderful tips.

You should also have an emergency kit.  Ready.gov has a "Build a Kit" has a great list of things you should have.  This kit is good for more than just tornadoes.  We keep our kit in the basement with our camping stuff so I have a way to cook, a tent, etc. with it.  I also have a couple of those little flashlights that you power by shaking them for the kids.  They feel better with light when power is out and this doesn't drain batteries.

Something else that is necessary is a weather radio.  You can get a relatively cheap one.  I have one on an app on my  phone as well but I don't depend on that.  When they start going off, they'll drain your battery quickly.  Whether you have an app or the actual radio, everyone needs a weather radio!

You also need a plan so the whole family knows what to do.  Everyone in the house knows what to do during a fire, they should also know what to do during a tornado.  It's about more than just where to go.  My family knows when there is a tornado "Watch" that we get things ready.  

**That's also something to know...the difference between a "watch" and a "warning".  A "Watch" means conditions are favorable.  A "Warning" means there is a tornado spotted whether visually sighted or 'radar indicated'.  Either way, don't ignore it.

Back to getting things ready, even though I keep the kit in a plastic tub with a lid in the basement, there are still things to get ready.  When things go to a tornado "Watch", I put a laundry basket at the top of the stairs.  In it goes a pair of shoes for everyone and a coat, the dog's leashes, my insulin and other meds, cell phone chargers, the weather radio and our family household book.  The household book is another post but it contains a lot of valuable information about our doctors with phone numbers, complete medicine lists, emergency contact numbers, and more.  With all of these items in the laundry basket, it makes it easier to get it to the basement if we have to go.  One of us will grab the dogs on the way down too.  It's a plan and we all have our parts.

We also have all of our information on a memory stick that is kept somewhere else with someone trusted.  That has copies (front and back) of our driver's license, social security cards, credit cards, birth certificates, marriage license, etc.  If your home is destroyed by a tornado, you may not have the physical cards and documents.  Imagine trying to replace these documents without having any way of proving you are who you say you are.  At least this gives you a place to start.  

Please take a moment to prepare your family and get a plan.  You don't want those sirens going off and wondering "what do I need?"  Plan now!  Be safe.

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