Oklahoma Tornadoes: Preparation and Safety Tips

May 21

(This Photo Provided By: KFOR-TV shows a car pile up in Moore, Oklahoma on Monday, May 20th, 2013 caused by the monster of a tornado that stormed through Oklahoma City suburbs. The tornado flattened neighborhoods, and set buildings on fire.)

As the death toll rises from the tragic tornado that hit Oklahoma, many families and people across the nation are left in pure shock. Cars, homes, trees and much more were swooped up into the mess of the violently rotating wind that came thundering through the state, and then flung out attacking anything in their way. Many tried to drive their cars away from the thrashing tornado or find shelter within their metal body, but found that this is quite difficult or extremely unsafe.

“If you’re driving on the road and need to find shelter, or you’re in a shopping mall, a church, a school, where ever you may be, you need to think about those three guidelines of getting in and getting down and covering up. Cars are not safe and you need to get in a small room in the middle of the building if you possibly can,” states on expert of the National Weather Service in Norman, Oklahoma.

Because many were unprepared for this unfortunate event, survivors of the tornado and those who reside in our beautiful country, are now motivated to get themselves and their loved ones prepared for weather disasters, such as tornadoes. The following safety tips and advice have been provided by the National Weather Service and the American Red Cross:

  • Know the tornado watches and warnings. This link of frequently asked questions will be very helpful.
  • Mobile home residents: leave! The great thing about mobile homes is that they are mobile. However, in a tornado, that makes them a horrible place to stay for shelter. Even if your mobile home is tied down it will not give you the same protection as a permanent building.
  • Pick a safe room in the home. This is something you can do right now. Pick a room like a storm cellar, basement, or interior room on the lowest floor possible with no windows. When you get in this designated safe room, cover yourself with a sleeping bag or mattress. Wearing a helmet, such as a bicycle helmet, will also give you extra protection.
  • Build an emergency kit. Every household should have this in case disaster hits.
  • For those in an apartment or a house with no basement, go to the lowest floor possible. The National Weather Service suggests a small center room, like a bathroom or closet. Other options for shelter include an interior hallway with no windows or under a stairwell.
  • If time allows, move any lawn furniture/decorations and trash cans. Because a tornado is extremely strong winds, these objects will turn into dangerous projectiles.
  • Know the danger signs of a tornado. If you see dark, greenish clouds, a wall cloud, a cloud of debris, a funnel cloud, large hail, or hear roaring noises, there is a high chance a tornado is coming your way. Look for the whirling mass and get to cover!
  • Get a weather radio. Tornadoes, although they can strike at any time of day or night, are most likely to occur between the times of 3 p.m. and 9 p.m. and often occur with little or no warning. Tornadoes that blast through during the night tend to be the deadliest, so having a weather radio is ideal.
  • Do not stay under a highway overpass—they are not safe! This myth has been busted! In fact, they are so unsafe that they are known as one of the most dangerous places you could take shelter during a tornado. The strong winds of a tornado intensify while under bridges and overpasses.
  • If there is absolutely no way that you will be able to get inside, lay flat and face down on the lowest stretch of ground you can get to. Stay away from trees, if possible, and use your arms to shield the back of your head.

As stated earlier, if you happen to be driving during the time of a natural disaster, please find appropriate shelter. I and the Everything Driving family put our hearts out to those who have been affected in the recent disasters, especially in Oklahoma. “In any democratic, civilized – even non-democratic nations, if you are a nation, it means to say that in our case, if there’s a hurricane in Louisiana, the people of Vermont are there for them. If there’s a tornado in the Midwest, we are there for them. If there’s flooding in the East Cost, the people in California are there for us.” -Bernie Sanders

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