Emergency Preparedness – Tornadoes

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Many of us are familiar with watching a tornado on the evening news. People who live in certain parts of the Continental United States are even more familiar with these dangerous storms. ECS Oklahoma City Branch Manager Garrett Klingensmith has a few tips and tricks that can help you stay safe.

During an imminent danger storm:

  • A “Tornado Watch” means conditions are favorable for the development of severe storms that may create tornadoes
  • A “Tornado Warning” means a tornado is developing or is actually on the ground
  • Find shelter inside: A basement, underground shelter or certified safe-room are your best options. If you do not have access to those, go to a closet, bathroom, or small interior room on the lowest level of the structure for shelter.
  • Cover yourself with a mattress or heavy blankets and stay away from windows.
  • Use helmets, goggles and make sure to have heavy-soled shoes (in the event your house is taken, you will be walking through extensive debris that could include splintered wood and nails). You may also want to stock your safe area with bottled water and a coat or jacket for each person.
  • Do not take shelter in a manufactured home.

If you are on the road when a Tornado Warning is issued

  • If you see a tornado LEAVE YOUR CAR and find shelter.
  • Do not seek shelter underneath a bridge or overpass.
  • If stranded outside, lie down in a low-lying area away from vehicles, but remain aware of possible flash flooding.
  • Do not seek shelter in drainage systems, culverts or ditches due to possible flash flooding.
  • Never try to outrun a tornado.

Here are some additional tips to help prepare for tornado season (fall and spring of each year):

  • Designate a place to go if necessary when a tornado watch or warning is issued
  • Designate a meeting place for friends or family if you are separated after a tornado strikes
  • Have insurance policy numbers and your agent’s contact information
  • Have key telephone numbers for your utility providers, including gas, water and electricity
  • Make sure to have your cell phone fully charged before a storm or make sure you have an alternative power source available
  • Have a battery operated or hand-crank radio or TV
  • Make sure you have sturdy shoes, a jacket, jeans and helmets if possible
  • Keep non-perishable snacks and bottled water on-hand

Stay safe – and remember the importance of situational awareness at all times!