When tornado season arrives, it’s important to make sure that you and your family know what to do when a twister strikes. If you’re caught off-guard, the results can be tragic. Even a little bit of warning can save lives. So if you find yourself with a little bit of time to prepare, here are seven ways to get you ready.
Establish Your Shelter Spot
Tornadoes can leave one house virtually untouched while it flattens the one next door. Since you never know for certain the level of damage you can expect from one, you need to decide on a place you can go that will provide you with the most shelter and protection. A basement is the ideal place, but if a basement is not available, choose the most interior room of the building. Interior rooms are the most protected by the housing structure. This could be a closet or a bathroom. Try to pick something without windows.
Gather Food and Drinking Water
Make yourself an emergency food kit. If you already have a store-bought one, move it to your shelter spot. Otherwise, gather some non-perishable foods and drinking water, and put them in your shelter spot. If you are bringing canned goods, make sure you bring a can opener as well. If you don’t have bottled water handy, fill up pitchers or other containers with safe drinking water.
Create or Locate a First Aid Kit
If you don’t already have a first aid kit that you can easily transport, make a small one. Include items such as bandages, disinfectant solution (alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, or witch hazel), and gauze. Put these in your shelter spot as well.
Charge Up Your Cell Phone
If you have a cell phone, start it charging immediately. Plug in the charger at your shelter spot, if possible, and have it charging your phone. If electricity goes, you want to have a means of contacting someone for help.
Locate a Battery-Powered Light Source
Whether you have a battery-powered camping lantern or a couple of flashlights, bring those to your shelter-in-place site. Make sure you have extra batteries to take with you in case you need them.
Collect Family Essentials
Some items are especially helpful to have while sheltering from a tornado. For adults this may be a wallet or a homeowner’s insurance policy. If something should go tragically wrong, it will help to have some of the most pertinent information available immediately especially access to money. For infants, it is a good idea to have diapers, wipes, formula (if needed), and bottles. Small children may be comforted by having a favorite toy with them. Collecting these essentials may save you trouble later. Use your best judgment on how much time you have when deciding what you should collect.
Bring Prescription Medications
Medications, especially those taken daily or those that prevent life-threatening situations, should be brought into the shelter spot with you. If possible, take them in their original bottles. Not only are they there to prevent emergency medical situations, but they also provide valuable information to medical personnel should it be needed.
Tornadoes are among the most violent killers known to man. While nothing is more important than preserving your life, if you have some time and are able to prepare yourself, take advantage and do it. A couple of wisely-spent minutes preparing can save you and your family a world of unnecessary worry and heartache later.