I would be slacking in my duties as an emergency manager if I didn’t share with you my tips to avoid being overwhelmed by tornadoes and storm season. Have you ever found out your home was in a tornado warning and almost had a heart attack getting yourself and your family to shelter? Would 30 minutes of intentional planning help beforehand? Ya sure ya betcha, my Minnestoa friends would say. In the emergency management field a well know phrase from Benjamin Franklin is “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail”. So let’s talk about your plan.
1. Be Weather Savy
You need a notification for severe weather, you have it already for Facebook, Twitter and other social media. So why not weather? But for weather you need not only a notification but an alert to get your attention. Here are two important methods for alerts:
Weather Radio: When this baby will get your attention with the beeping noise and hearing the severe weather message broadcasted. This needs to be a weather radio with SAME technology such as the Midland Weather Radio WR120EZ we use at home.
Apps with alerts: While on the road, at the store or at home these apps will get your attention.
There are a TON of apps and text messaging services out there so I am not stating one is better than the other. Choose one or two that you like and set it up on your phone.
Word of caution: This may seem obvious but losing complete cell phone service will cause these alerts not to work. A good reason to use a weather radio in your house!
2. Shelter from the storm
Choose a place in your house where you and your family take shelter during a tornado or a storm with damaging straightline winds. Always choose the most interior room of your house on the lowest level, whether your basement or an interior bathroom on the main floor. Also please make sure your kids know the location in the event they are home by themselves.
Quick tip: Consider using your bike helmet for extra protection if you are concerned on the reliability of your shelter area.
3. Get your gear
Get your gear AKA make an emergency kit. You and your family could spend 20 to 60+ minutes sheltering during one of these storms. After about 5 minutes kids (and adults) get bored. I suggest have a deck of cards, coloring book with crayons or games stashed ahead of time in a backpack or tote.
Besides activities to pass the time include some bars or other non-perishable food, water bottles and a first aid kit.
Quick tip: Avoid using your cell phones while taking shelter since the power could go off during and after the storm for long lengths of time.
To sum it up here are your next steps:
- Get a NOAA weather radio and an app on your phone for weather alerts
- Pick the best place in your home for shelter
- Assemble an emergency kit and keep it in or near your shelter area
Right now mark one of these steps off your list. In the comments below share the best place in your house to take shelter.
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