Tornado Safety Information
It’s that time of year here in Oklahoma, yep Tornado Season is upon us, and we are expecting a very bumpy and active evening Tuesday April 26th, 2016. So I wanted to go over a few safety tips for you all that may not remember what to do. It is pretty much second nature for most Oklahomans, But let’s review:
First of all, there are no longer Public Shelters; there are several reasons for this. History has shown, it is far too dangerous to be on the road or outside for that matter trying to get to a public shelter. Plan accordingly and in ADVANCE! Do not wait till the last minute if you need a shelter and choose not to shelter in place. For large towns and cities getting on the roads seeking shelter elsewhere causes traffic jams meaning folks stranded on the roads in the jam during the event and emergency personnel cannot get through. FEMA, NWS, and other Agencies ALL recommend that you are to Shelter in Place. The only time you are to not shelter in place is if you live in a Mobile home at only at that time is it advised to seek shelter elsewhere, and to do prior to a tornado or high wind threat. If you live in a Mobile home, or wish to be elsewhere during a weather event especially for Tuesday April 26th. Plan NOW do not wait. We know Tuesday will be an evening event so far, my personal opinion is that you need to be where you want to be by 3pm.
If you are driving and there are no shelters or places to go building wise, do NOT go under a bridge underpass. Contrary to popular belief and Hollywood, this is one of the worst places you can be during a tornado. The best things you can do is to stay in your vehicle and lie down away from the windows and cover up in case the glass gets broken. This isn’t the best option but if you’re in the middle of nowhere it’s your only option. If you are able to, call someone to let them know where you are, pull over near a mile marker sign or some sort reference point so your friends/family have a point of reference to look for you if something tragic were to happen.
If you’re in a home or at Business remember to D.U.C.K:
- Downstairs to the Lowest level of your Home /or business if you’re out and about.
- Underneath Something Sturdy
- Center lowest part of the house or Business or basement if there is one. Get in a Bathtub and get anything you can cover up to protect yourself from flying debris, Make sure you have proper shoes on as there will be debris everywhere.
- Keep away from windows and anything glass.
For local Notifications, My family listens to KWTV – NEWS 9, other Use KFOR-TV or KOCO News 5. On Facebook / Twitter If you don’t already, be sure follow the Oklahoma Storm Chasers, Meteorologist Aaron Tuttle and OSC’s Meteorologist Todd Rasmuson. Use a Weather Radio.
Prepare in Advance, we cannot say that enough!
Make yourself a bugout bag, Collect Blankets, water and other Items you may need, you could be in your shelter a while. Good Shoes (no sandals or flip flops) are also great, so many times have I seen children with no shoes on after a tornado has gone through, remember there will be nails, glass, and lots of other sharp debris on the ground. Sport Helmets are not a bad idea either for children or yourself. Ponchos are good too, it’s possible it maybe still raining after the tornado has gone through, if you don’t have ponchos, trash bags make great ponchos. Flashlights, Batteries, Even a Portable Battery Operated fan to keep you comfortable, it will be hot and humid in that shelter. Crayons, Paper and other things to keep your children entertained. Try to stay away from electronic devices as if the electric goes out, you may not have internet access if the game or app you use needs it.
Other things you can do to prepare, Take pictures of everything around your house, for insurance purposes, many times people forget the items they have lost and dont claim in it on their insurance. You pay those high premiums be sure to make them pay for everything you own.
Have your plan in place, go over it with your family, and children. Practice your plan, make it fun for your children to practice it. That way when it does happen, it maybe easier on you to gather your children and they won’t be as scared. Click here for a link for a Childrens Fact Sheet that your children can read. You can also go to NOAA’s Owlie Education site
As always, use a little common sense, if you do not understand Oklahoma weather please don’t stand outside and have a Hold my beer and watch this moment If you have any questions please let us know!
Oklahoma Storm Chasers are a Weather Ready Nation Ambassador, dedicated to help you be Storm Ready!
More Tornado Safety Tips can be found here .