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Tornado Preparedness: The Essentials

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  • #16
    I'm in a city that, although it is somewhat rural and very "small town", has an OUTSTANDING EMA and wonderful volunteers and emergency workers. We have a great notification system and sirens everywhere that are tested weekly. They utilize social media to make sure people heard them. They share articles like the one linked in the OP often and offer advice to citizens about preparedness and have even given away weather alert radios. Still, many people do not pay attention and seem to not know what to do when we have severe risk. I wish there were more ways to get attention.

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    • #17
      Thank God we've never had Tornado's here where I live, at least in the area I live in, but we're very prone to earthquakes. I think a lot of points here you've mentioned do make a lot of sense and they're very very important. It has to get more attention for preparedness.

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      • #18
        Just about anywhere that a person chooses to live, there are some kind of weather-related problems to deal with.
        Some places , it is tornadoes, other places, snowstorms/blizzards, hurricanes, heat/drought, and of course, earthquakes. It simply makes good sense to be as prepared as possible to deal with any kind of a disaster where you might lose electricity, water, and the ability to purchase needed supplies.
        When you know the kind of natural disaster most common to where you live, then you should take whatever precautions are needed for that type of disaster.

        Some houses are better than others for surviving a tornado, and mobile homes are about the worst places to be. It seems like every tornado trashes out at least one mobile home park. If you have to live in one, at least choose one that has a community shelter, or find out where the nearest public shelter is at.

        Churches often have a public shelter available in their basement. When we had the tornadoes here, the churches were also the first places to help the tornado victims afterwards. Many churches set up temporary shelters for people whose homes had been destroyed, and also gave free meals to people who needed them.
        Since there was no power, and not much of any way to cook food, sometimes, what they could give people was only sandwiches; but it was still a blessing to people who had no place to live or get food.

        I try to get a few extra canned food items each time that I shop. Most of the food in cans can actually be eaten cold out of the can if necessary. Crackers are good because they will keep much better than bread does, and you can use crackers for mini-sandwiches.
        If you rotate your extra food supply and use the oldest ones first, then you should be fine if a tornado does strike and you have to live on the canned food for a few days.
        Radios and lanterns that use solar power or can be hand cranked are a good idea for any kind of an emergency, and every home should have one or two of these.
        Diane Lane likes this.

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        • #19
          I was in the hospital yesterday to visit my uncle. He is quite okay so the conversation segued and segued until the topic of his mother was reminisced. I remember the story of his mother who was lifted up in the air by a tornado or maybe a cyclone? She flew more than 10 feet in the air and fortunately the wind was kind enough to put her down gently. Except for the trauma, she suffered no major injury.

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          • #20
            Originally posted by Alexandoy View Post
            I was in the hospital yesterday to visit my uncle. He is quite okay so the conversation segued and segued until the topic of his mother was reminisced. I remember the story of his mother who was lifted up in the air by a tornado or maybe a cyclone? She flew more than 10 feet in the air and fortunately the wind was kind enough to put her down gently. Except for the trauma, she suffered no major injury.

            It's amazing how tornadoes will do that, totally devastating one area or building, then the next one will be unharmed. Before I moved here, a small tornado touched down and damaged the house next door. For years, it was left like that, open to the environment, with water and animals getting in, while the owner lived there. It was really crazy. Every night at dusk I would see heads pop up, out the side of the house, as the raccoons living in his attic woke up and decided to go on the prowl. Thankfully, the new owner fixed the house, but it was a good reminder of what could happen.

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            • #21
              Originally posted by Diane Lane View Post


              Alexandoy So they don't announce watches or warning on the radio and television, or by local sirens? We have a siren here in the neighborhood, but I'm not exactly sure what they use it for. There was an explosion nearby when I first moved here, and I believe it went off at that time, but it's not manned, so someone has to get there to set it off, and I'm not sure that would be possible with a tornado, since they often occur quickly.

              Unfortunately, I have a feeling the government in Ciudad Acuna probably didn't have much of an alert system either, which is probably why at least 10 people died in the tornado there yesterday.

              In that case, it would definitely be worth knowing what signs to watch for, that would signal impending rotation/tornadoes. I've never heard of a hissing sound, here it's described as the roar of a freight train, but I'm sure the geography, conditions, and infrastructure there are different, so that could be why.
              No, we don't have such sirens for a tornado warning. In fact, our only alert system is the media - traditional and digital. People rely on tv and radio for news about an impending disaster like typhoons, tsunamis, tornadoes and the like. That is why there was a huge number of deaths when the public did not heed the warning on the tsunami simply because the media used the term STORM SURGE that would result in a tsunami or tidal wave.

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              • #22
                Great article, and all good things to remember. I live in an area where there are usually several tornadoes within ten miles each year. A few of them have come within a mile. Even though that's the case, we have no sirens... no form of warning, actually. I do get emergency alerts when there are watches and warnings issued, *but* they often come to me AFTER the risk is past making that service virtually worthless.

                We have no basement... so even that is out as an option. I know the place in the house that is suggested as "safest in a tornado event" but I don't happen to think it would be very safe at all. Only option though.

                Very true about the sky color... three chilling things have happened to me over the years. The first time I was getting groceries and got a totally panicked feeling seeing the sky off in the distance and sensing that something bad was going on.. it was around the area of my hometown... I heard from my parents later that night that they're fine, but the tornado was rather severe.

                Another time we "heard the train" but luckily it touched down in a forested area nearby.

                But the third time is most chilling... my daughter was younger and the words I heard were "Mama, is the sky supposed to be green?" That one touched down about a mile away. I generally enjoy spring, but it also means that there will soon be days in a row of tornado watches that sometimes turn into warnings.

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                • #23
                  Yikes. Tornadoes are something I've never had to experience, being from a very mountainous region, but I am going to visit my relatives in OK this summer. Let's hope that I don't have to use any of these tips!

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                  • #24
                    I live in Indiana, and we have tornados through out the summer. When i was little, our school always did tornado drills. This was a monthly event for us. My parent's house has been in the line of a tornado two times. We always knew when we heard the sirens to grab our blankies and head to the basement with our flashlights. Being prepared here is a necessity.

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