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Top Ten U.S. States for Tornadoes That Damage Homes, People and Property

Tornado-Destruction

March through August is tornado season in the United States, where some 1,000 tornadoes hit every year. Be prepared. Tornadoes are more powerful than any other storm: They can toss freight trains like toys and throw your house down the block.
If you live in one of the top ten tornado states identified in order below, be smart and prepare yourself and your family for unexpected disaster:

  1. Florida is hit by more tornadoes than any other state in the U.S. and, also, also by more severe thunderstorms than any state.
  2. Oklahoma is the heart of what meteorologists call Tornado Alley. Its weather patterns often make warm and cool air collide — ideal for creating tornadoes and damaging thunderstorms.
  3. Kansas is where a mammoth twister whisked Dorothy and her little dog Toto to Oz, but it’s also where thousands of people are caught unprepared for damaging storms every year.
  4. Iowa was clobbered by 28 tornadoes in 2013 and averages of about 50 damaging thunderstorms every year.
  5. Illinois experienced one of its deadliest years on record for tornadoes in 2013. Storms generated widespread flooding and cut power in more than 160,000 homes and businesses.
  6. Indiana ranks second in the nation for the costs of tornado damage, sixth for the number of deaths and seventh for the number of personal injuries.
  7. Mississippi averages 29 tornadoes per year, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Its coastal regions are hit by devastating hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico.
  8. Maryland ranks in the Tornado Top Ten because of its mid-south and Atlantic Ocean weather patterns generate many twisters and serious thunderstorms.
  9. Louisiana ranks second in the U.S. for the most thunderstorms annually and as a result, and averages 37 tornadoes per year.
  10. Texas averages 155 tornadoes per year – the most of any state — but its land mass is so large it ranks 10th in the U.S. per tornadoes every 10,000 square miles.
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30 Days, 30 Ways

30 Days 30 Ways

You probably already have your emergency kit (and if you don’t, you should!), but FEMA offers lots of resources to help us be better prepared for emergencies and disasters. With September being National Preparedness Month, they have some extra activities to encourage people to prepare.

The 30 Days 30 Ways preparedness challenge is one of those activities. The goal is to help communities to be better prepared by giving people one new preparedness task each day. This is a fun way to get you into a preparedness mindset and you can win great prizes by playing along.

Want to play? Check out the game rules and then jump in. You can play as much as you want so don’t be intimidated thinking you must commit to playing every day if you’re not able. But if you can, you’ll feel better prepared and closer to your community. Encourage your friends, neighbors and family members to play as well. You’ll be helping them to be better prepared, too.

Ready to learn more? Check out this video and then visit 30 Days 30 Ways to participate.

Image credit: 30 Days 30 Ways

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Being Prepped for College

Is your college student prepared for emergencies?

Going away to college represents a big life change for students and parents alike. If you have a student getting ready to start classes, you both are probably overwhelmed with all the preparations. Don’t forget, getting ready for college isn’t just about academics. It is important that your college student is ready for emergencies as well.

According to FEMA, it is important to equip students with a disaster kit that includes a flashlight, a radio, a solar powered or hand-cranked cell phone charger, energy bars, water and first aid supplies. It is also a good idea to provide a car kit.

Find out the emergency procedures for the college your student is attending and make sure he or she is on the emergency notification system list. Go over the emergency procedures with your student to be sure they are clear. After all, he will have to handle situations alone without parental guidance.

You should also establish a communication system for your family so you are notified if there is an emergency at the college. You will want to know your child is safe. Also, make an emergency contact list with names, phone numbers and locations of family members, doctors, medical insurance and any other important information. Put a copy in the emergency kit and also keep a copy someplace else (such as a vehicle) so the information is easily accessible.

It may be hard seeing your child go away to college, but making sure he is completely prepared for every situation will give you both peace of mind.

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What if Your School Goes into a Lockdown?

what if your school has a lockdown

A school lockdown happens when officials at a school perceive a threat to students and staff. Students and teachers are instructed to stay in their classrooms with doors and windows closed and locked to protect them from anyone trying to enter. Students are instructed to stay quiet and move to the safest part of the room, and parents are instructed to stay away from the school until everything is safe.

A lockdown is scary for children and adults alike. However, teachers must keep calm and keep their students calm. This may be hard when children are told to hide under their desk in the dark and not make a sound. That’s why lockdown drills are useful. They help children understand what will happen in the case of a lockdown and allow them to practice. Just like tornado and fire drills, these drills should be conducted several times a year. Ask about your school’s lockdown drill policy.

While you discuss what your school will do during a lockdown, find out what type of classroom supplies are available for times of lockdown or other emergencies. Every classroom should have a safety lockdown container survival kit with enough supplies for each students. If your school doesn’t have emergency kits, consider donating one to your child’s classroom, or talk to school administrators about setting up a Save-a-Life school fundraiser to get emergency kits for the school.

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As Summer Winds Down, Stay Prepared

Prepare so your camping fun isn't ruined by disasters.

Summer is almost over, and in some places kids have already gone back to school. Others are trying to squeeze in that last bit of fun before summer ends by going camping, boating, or hiking. This isn’t the time to forget about safety and preparedness. Have the right supplies so your summer ends on a positive note.

Always have a first aid kit sufficient for the number of people who are with you, as well as emergency supplies including water, high energy food, insect repellent, map, compass, knife, firestarter, a personal shelter and extra clothing.

Whatever activity you choose to pursue, make sure you have a plan. Spontaneity is fun, but you should still have a basic outline of where you will be and when you expect to be back. Give a copy of this plan to someone who isn’t going with you. If you are not back when expected, they should call for help.

Also, be aware of potential hazards in the area you plan to be. Monitor the weather with your weather radio, just in case an unexpected storm will require you to change your plans.

Make sure your summer ends as one full of great memories, not sad ones.

photo credit: Lotzman Katzman via photopin cc

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