Sunday, May 6, 2012

"Tornado Season"

                Some of the most successful posts we have had on "Rational Preparedness" have concerned emergency shelters of multiple varieties.   Yesterday, it was reported that a fourteen year old young man in Japan was killed by a tornado in Ibaraki Prefecture, East of Tokyo.  For a moment, I would like to revisit tornado protection.

Know the Difference – Tornado Watches vs Tornado Warnings:

  • Tornado Watch – Means the potential exist for a tornado to develop.  When a tornado watch is issued, you should take the time to make sure you are prepared.  Be aware of rapidly changing conditions, and be ready to take immediate action.  Monitor local media outlets for up-to-date weather information.  Review where you will go should there be a tornado.       
  • Tornado Warning – Means a tornado has been spotted or indicated on radar.   During a tornado warning, you should take evasive action.  Remain in shelter until the danger has passed and the warning has expired.  Monitor local media outlets for up-to-date weather information. 

What to do during a Tornado:

At Home:
  • Go to an interior room, away from windows. 
  • Go to the lowest level possible.
  • Do not open or close windows.
  • Crouch on the floor, and cover your head as much as possible.
At Work/School:
  • Go to lowest level possible, and find an interior room or hallway without windows.
  • Avoid large open spaces such as gyms and auditoriums. 
  • Crouch on the floor, and protect your head.
  • Look for Severe Weather Shelter Areas (located in select facilities) marked by this sign:
  • How you can prepare:

    Make a Plan –

    Whether you are at home or work/school, you should have a plan in place outlining what you will do during a tornado, or any emergency.  Identify shelter areas in your home and your office.  While on campus, look for the green Severe Weather Shelter Area signs.  Some areas may include a basement, underneath interior stairs, and interior closets.  Remember to chose interior locations on the lowest level possible, away from windows.  Avoid large open spaces such as auditoriums, gyms, and other rooms with large, open roof spans.   
    At home, know where and how to shut your utilities off (ie: gas, water and electric shut offs).  This may be important to know to prevent damaged and/or leaking /exposed utilities from creating more significant damage. 
    Know how you and your family will communicate after tornado.  Remember that phone lines may be down or busy after an emergency.  Consider designating a friend or relative outside of your community to call after an emergency to report your location and condition, or to find out information on your family.    

    We have already extensively discuss the formation of evacuation kits, and the kits needed in order to remain at home.   Both of these need to be ready for natural disasters.

    Some of the information above was found at:

    UNC Greenboro, NC

    Tornado damage in a modern home.

    Tornado, on its way.

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