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Tornado Readiness Resources

It’s spring and that means we will probably be seeing an increase in tornado activity. Are you prepared to take shelter if a tornado is coming your way?

Go through the items in your emergency kit to be sure nothing is outdated and everything works properly. Make copies of important documents and put them in a zipper bag to keep in your emergency kit.

Be sure you have a weather radio in your home and in your vehicle so you can stay aware of weather alerts.

Brush up on safety procedures with your family. Here are some links with useful information:

Discovery.com shows us 5 Tornado Safety Myths Debunked. Knowing what is fact and what is fiction is essential to staying safe during a tornado.

Iowa State University has Tornado Safety Rules so you’ll know what to do if you’re at home, in a car, in a motel or in a mobile home.

Emergency preparedness organizations offer a Tornado Safety Checklist PDF that you can print off and keep handy. They also offer a Tornado Warning & Alert app for Android and iPhone. It provides you with step-by-step instructions, quizzes, and everything you need to know about tornado safety and preparedness.

The following video is great to share with the family so everyone understands Tornado Safety.

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What Are Tornadoes (Video)

winter tornadoes are not uncommon

Tornadoes have really been in the news lately. It seems that they have become more and more common, not being limited to what is considered “tornado season”.

Tornadoes may not really be more frequent, but our ability to monitor them has improved, so we hear about them more than ever. Understanding tornadoes can make it easier to be prepared for them.

Tornadoes are vortexes of air descending from a thunderstorm to the ground. They are formed when moist, warm air with strong south winds mixes with cool, dry air with strong west or southwest winds, causing instability in the atmosphere. This instability causes a vortex of wind to form, usually seen as a funnel cloud.

In order to be an official tornado, the funnel must be in contact with the ground as well as the cloud base. In some cases, tornadoes are not visible because of blowing dust or rain. These are especially dangerous.

It used to be assumed that tornado season was from March through May, but tornadoes can really occur at any time, as we have seen this winter. Tornadoes occur most often between 3 and 9 pm, but can actually occur at any time of the day or night.

The range of a tornado can be from 100 yards to a mile wide and typically last 10 to 15 minutes, though it isn’t unheard of for a tornado to last for an hour or more. Most tornadoes travel from the southwest to the northeast, though they can go anywhere.

Scientists are still trying to nail down all the detail of what a tornado really is, but they have gotten pretty good at letting us know in advance if one is expected. When a tornado warning is issued for your location, you should go to a predetermined safe place.

This could be a central room with no windows, a basement or a storm shelter. If you live in a mobile home, make sure you have found out in advance where the closest storm shelter is located so you can get there fast.

Keep an emergency kit in your safe room that includes a helmet, gloves, extra shoes, a weather radio and a flashlight with extra batteries. The supplies in our Hurricane Kit and 1 Person Survival Kit will cover most of your needs during a tornado. Keep an emergency kit for your pets as well, including a pet carrier and extra leash to keep them controlled and safe in the event of an emergency.

Learn more about winter tornadoes from The Weather Channel:

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Preparing for Disaster with a Radio

emergency radio

You have probably head that it is important to have an AM/FM radio in your emergency kit, but you may not be sure what you need it for. TV Weatherman Al Roker recently said if he could have just one thing in an emergency, it would be a weather radio.

The fact is, an AM/FM weather radio can help you prepare for disasters by providing you with vital information while traveling, as well as during an extreme weather event.

Do you know how to find emergency information on your AM radio?

One way your AM radio can help you is with Highway Advisory Radio, also called Travelers’ Information Station. By locating the Highway Advisory Radio station in your location, you can be warned about travel advisories and other emergency information that is broadcast by federal, state and local authorities.

Find out the stations near you by visiting the FCC Travelers’ Information Station Search page.

The National Weather Service can broadcast emergency information via AM radio stations as well. You can find your area on the Nationwide Station Listing page and keep your emergency radio tuned to the correct station to provide you information on all hazards so you won’t be caught by surprise.

If you have a weather radio, you may have a real advantage. Weather radios can pick up special Weather Radio broadcasts that an AM/FM radio cannot pick up on seven Weather Band NOAA Channels.

Weather radios will help you track approaching weather and take shelter if necessary. They will alert you to emergency information during a disaster that may be unattainable by other means, such as when there is no power for TV or Internet. You will feel safer when you what what is happening and what to about it.

Keep an AM/FM weather radio in your emergency kit as well as in your car kit. You’ll be able to get the information you need and won’t be isolated from the rest of the world.

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Key Takeaways from Hurricane Preparedness Week

Recently NOAA held their annual Hurricane Preparedness week to urge resident to get ready now. At the convention which took place May 27th through June 2nd, the National Weather Service and preparedness experts called upon Americans who live in areas vulnerable to severe weather and hurricanes to Be a Force of Nature. Each state in FEMA Region 6 (Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas) have been directly or indirectly affected by the devastation of extreme weather and hurricanes. The overall goal is to help people identify their vulnerabilities in order to reduce the damaging effects of a hurricane or other natural disaster by taking the necessary actions to prepare.Studies have recently shown that many people now rely on the use of social media to let relatives and friends know they are safe after a disaster.  NOAA hopes to take advantage of this trend by getting people to encourage eachother to take preparedness steps.  They hope that if they see the preparations taken by others, that others will also take similar preparedness actions.  In summary, NOAA asks that you:

Know your risk –  Understand how hurricanes, tropical storms, and other extreme weather can affect where you live, work, commute, etc.  Then consider how such weather could pose a risk for you and your family. By understanding your risk, you are more apt to know how to prepare.  During hurricane season, it is extra critical to regularly check weather forecasts and alerts from emergency management agencies.  Having a NOAA Weather Radio is a critical recommendation.  But be sure that it operates via alternate power options such as hand-crank and solar panel.  Batteries expire and only last so long and electricity may be unavailable for weeks following a large storm.

Take action –  Pledge to develop an emergency hurricane plan based on your own individual risk level and needs as per step #1.  Practice where and how you and your family will evacuate if necessary.   Perform some research on how you can improve your defense against hurricanes.  Download FEMA’s mobile emergency app to access important safety tips about what to do before, during, and after a hurricane. Be sure you know the different types of National Hurricane Center warning and alerts.

Be an Example – Post your plan where others can see it whether it be in your home or online.  Share your story and pledge with your family and friends. You can even create a YouTube video and post it to our Facebook page.


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