Being Prepared BEFORE the Storm

When there are storms in your area, turn on your radio or television to get the latest emergency information from local authorities. Listen for announcements of a storm watch or warning. Enable the weather alert system on your cell phone to give additional alerts for your location. Consider purchasing a weather alert radio for your home to keep you and your family informed of weather emergencies. Learn about the weather warning system for your county. Some areas use a siren system to alert residents to weather emergencies. Know how to distinguish between the siren’s warnings for different types of emergencies.

Thunderstorms – Tornadoes often accompany thunderstorms. Pay close attention to changing weather conditions when there is a severe thunderstorm watch or warning.

  • A severe thunderstorm watch means severe thunderstorms are possible in your area.
  • A severe thunderstorm warning means severe thunderstorms are occurring in your area.

Tornado Watch – issued when weather conditions favor the formation of tornadoes.

  • Stay tuned to local radio and television stations, or an NOAA Weather Radio for the weather.
  • Watch the weather and be prepared to take shelter immediately if conditions worsen.

Tornado Warning – issued when a tornado funnel is sighted or indicated by weather radar. You should take shelter immediately in a secure area that offers protection from the storm. Avoid windows and exterior walls if possible.

Take Important Measures to Prepare

  • Develop a weather emergency plan with your family. Sketch a floorplan of where you live or walk through each room. Discuss where and how to seek shelter.
  • Show a second way to exit from each room or area. If you need special equipment, such as a rope ladder, mark where it is located.
  • Make sure everyone understands the siren warning system if there’s such a system in your area.
  • Mark where your first-aid kit and fire extinguishers are located.
  • Teach your family how to administer basic first aid, use a fire extinguisher, and how & when to turn off the water, gas, and electricity.
  • Learn the emergency dismissal policy for your child’s school.
  • Make sure your children know
    – what a tornado is.
    – what tornado watches / warnings are.
    – what county they live in (warnings are issued by county).
    – how to take shelter at home or at school.

Practice Your Emergency Plan
Conduct drills and ask questions to make sure your family remembers information on tornado safety. Particularly how to recognize hazardous weather conditions and how to take shelter.

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