On average, tornado warnings are issued thirteen minutes before the storm becomes severe. For those living in a tornado-prone area, this is more than enough time for them to seek shelter. However, for those who may not have encountered tornadoes in their life, this lack of preparation can push them into potentially dangerous situations, especially if they have their family in tow.
For such residents in states such as Oklahoma and Texas, US Safe Rooms offers a short essential guide on how you can keep your family protected from tornadoes by implementing an emergency plan.
What You Need for a Tornado Drill
Learn the Difference Between a Watch and a Warning
A “tornado watch” signifies that conditions may prompt a tornado to develop, whereas a “tornado warning” signifies that a tornado is imminent, and people should take immediate shelter. Knowing the difference between the two can potentially save lives because tornadoes don’t necessarily always show any signs before making landfall. So, even if members are not present in the house at the time, they would still know when to take immediate action according to the situation.
Identify an Area for Shelter
While some may argue that their basement is a safe enough bet, you may end up getting stuck in there if the tornado substantially damages the structure of your home and causes flooding. With above ground tornado shelters designed using reinforced steel, you’ll have the assurance that it won’t likely get damaged or flooded because of a storm or tornado.
Equip Your Tornado Shelter
Include all essentials in your tornado emergency kit that’ll sustain you for at least 48 hours:
- Drinkable bottled water
- First aid kit
- Battery-powered flashlights
- Battery-powered radio
- Extra batteries
- Pillows and blankets
- Extra clothes
- Non-perishable food
- Canned food
- Can opener
- Pet food
- Hand sanitizer
- Antibacterial wipes
Implementing a Tornado Safety Drill Plan
Each person should know what to do in case of an emergency. Older children can be assigned to help any older adults in the family or get a family pet. But younger, more vulnerable family members must make their way to the shelter first. Every person must know to crouch down and keep their faces low and cover their heads with their arms.
Do a Walk-Through
Talk the family through all the steps and make sure they are taking things seriously. If a tornado does strike, this will be an emergency during which they’ll need to act quickly. Make sure they know everything they have to do.
Schedule the Drill
Do so during the day and give your children a heads-up, so they don’t get scared. Take minutes of the first tornado drill and observe where your preparation may be lacking. The drill should not take more than 2–3 minutes, and people should not panic. Assess this drill and take steps to improve the routine, so it’s more straightforward and fast-paced.
Mix Things Up
The worst thing you can do is become lazy. As you start making the household go through more drills, mix up the times and the days, so everyone can learn how to adapt to different situations. Do so once or twice a week to make sure everyone knows to stay calm and prepared during the actual emergency.
Finally, make sure everyone at home understands the importance of a tornado drill. You cannot afford to waste time during it by grabbing onto personal possessions. The only thing that will matter at the time is that everyone gets to safety.
Start practicing your drills today and prepare so you can stay safe!