Late Summer Tornadoes: Tips for Ongoing Preparation
As summer proceeds into its final month, the Midwestern U.S. is still experiencing tornadoes and severe thunderstorms. Tornado season often extends into early fall as temperatures continue to fluctuate rapidly and cold and warm air intermingle across open expanses of land. Continuing to prepare for tornadoes and remaining aware of the potential risks from these storms is important to staying safe and protecting your home. Tornadoes are some of the most destructive natural disasters that can range anywhere from roaming forces to precision strikes–leveling a single town and leaving another unscathed. When preparing for tornadoes, it is always essential to take weather forecasts and alerts into account. A significant portion of effective tornado preparation involves seeking shelter in time and getting help in the aftermath, so staying alert to tornado warnings is important to staying alive.
Plan for Shelter
The most important aspect of surviving a tornado is planning for and seeking appropriate shelter at the right time. Flying debris and damage to surrounding structures are the most serious hazards during a tornado, so proper shelter is imperative. Designated storm shelters are a reliable option, but these are not always common. Basements and interior, windowless rooms are the most common form of shelter during a tornado. You should always have a response plan for seeking shelter in the event of a tornado. Know exactly where to go beforehand. If you are in a vehicle, try to get to the nearest structure and get indoors. If this isn’t possible, stay in the vehicle, lay low, and protect your head or exit and lay face down in a low lying area, such as a drainage. For home shelters, it is also a good idea to keep emergency supplies on hand in this location–food, water, first aid kits, and communication devices are the most essential. In vehicles, always maintain a first aid kit and some form of communication device.
Find Aftermath Resources
A big part of tornado recovery is knowing what resources are available in the aftermath. There are both federal and state resources for disaster recovery that may be available after a tornado. Often, no matter how thorough your preparation for a tornado, the disaster proves calamitous and complete recovery and rebuilding is the only option. When a tornado strikes, however, personal safety is the utmost concern. Possessions and homes can be damaged or destroyed far too easily during tornadoes, so understanding how to best protect yourself and loved ones during these storms is the highest priority. When planning for a tornado, research emergency shelters and local disaster recovery resources and establish a rudimentary plan for accessing these services. Utilities may be downed and buildings rendered uninhabitable, so know where emergency resources are available and be prepared to seek them out.