Tornado season is upon us, folks. The weather is volatile, and it can go from a perfectly sunny and beautiful day to a green and purple sky with heavy winds in a matter of minutes.
If you’re in an area known for tornados or you’re worried that this year is going to be your year to get hit, it’s important to be properly prepared. Here are our best tips for keeping yourself safe and secure, so you can feel comforted knowing that you and your family will be able to weather whatever comes your way.
Your first step needs to be having an established plan for a tornado incident and knowing how to follow it. This is something that you and every member of your family should know how to follow so that they can act quickly if necessary.
Let everyone in your household know what the difference is between a Tornado Warning and a Tornado Watch, and establish guidelines for each situation. Make sure everyone knows their role in preparing for an emergency, even young children. Helping them feel involved means they are more likely to stick with it.
Establish an area of your house that is designated for sheltering during an emergency. If you have a basement – even an unfinished basement! – choose a corner away from any windows and doors.
Set up things in that corner before you need them. Folding chairs or comfortable seating (be careful with soft fabrics in a wet basement), and store extra water or snacks down there, especially if you have young children. If your basement is unfinished, consider storing snacks or drinks in a plastic tub so bugs or critters can’t get in.
If you don’t have a basement, a ground floor bathroom with a tub is preferred, or an area of your home with no windows.
Remember that if a tornado comes through your town, phone lines and power might be out. Yes, you can rely on your cell phones… but only for so long. Consider having a battery-powered radio so you can tune into local channels on hand, as well as extra batteries.
You can also keep extra batteries or recharging power bricks for your phone on hand, but these lose power over time, so make sure they’re topped off and stored somewhere secure.
Finally, the best advice we can give you is to download and install the FEMA app on your mobile devices – all of them. It allows you to input your location or use your phone’s GPS to pinpoint you and send you weather alerts.
This is the fastest and best way to stay up to date on extreme weather in your area, not just tornados. It’s important to have up to date information because tornados can change in a matter of minutes, and switch direction with little warning.
Being prepared for tornado season is all about staying safe and having a plan. If you have an established plan in place, you’re more likely to stay safe in the event of an emergency.