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You can never perfectly prepare for a tornado outbreak. Even those who live in areas coined “Tornado Alley” prepare as well as they can and then, when an outbreak happens, they pray that they and their families are one of the lucky ones to survive. Why have outlooks been so dreadful? The answer can be simply stated like this: Tornadoes are very unpredictable. Even when forecasters can spot a tornado and warn residents, tornadoes seem to have a “mind” of their own. Historical accounts show tornadoes destroying one house, jumping the next one, then touching down again and continuing on their murderous rampage. There isn’t really a good explanation for this type of phenomenon, other than nature is very unpredictable. So how do you prepare for an unpredictable killing machine that has a mind of its own?
Educate Your Entire Family
Educating your family is the first step toward preparing for a tornado outbreak. Get to know the most volatile and active seasons (usually springtime), and become familiar with the histories of tornado touchdowns in your area. Another good idea is to stream some documentaries about tornadoes, and the damage and destruction they cause. A word of caution though—some storm footage is very disturbing for younger people. Use your discretion when educating your children. The most important reason for streaming footage is so that you can recognize what the clouds look like when a tornado is about to form. Tornadoes spawn from very ominous and foreboding clouds.
Designate A Tornado Shelter
This is an easy step if you live in a home with a basement. Basements are great storm shelters because they are underground and keep the residents away from the dangerous cyclonic winds. But even basements may not prove to be bullet-proof. It depends on how well your home is built on its foundation. If not built with sturdy materials, your home might collapse in on you while you are in the basement. I know that’s not a very comforting thought, but it is a reality. Some families have opted to create a safe room or a tornado safe room. These are steel reinforced rooms that you can build onto existing concrete slabs in your home. For instance, you can build one in the basement or alternatively in the garage on a slab of concrete. These are becoming more popular as tornado activity in uncommon regions increases.
These are very pricey though. A simple Google search will give results to thousands of companies who offer storm/safe room installation. Be mindful to research each company carefully. This is a very big investment! The monetary cost may be within your means, but the high cost of human life is at stake too! You don’t want to go with a company who doesn’t stand behind their products! Be sure to stock your storm shelter with basic necessities and a backup power supply in case you should need it. Your family’s lives are the utmost importance.
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What should you do if you don’t have a basement or the funds to build a tornado safe room? Is your family doomed? The answer is no. There are safety measures to follow in the event of a tornado that will greatly increase your chances of living.
- Find an interior room away from windows
- Get into a position where you are able to protect your head and neck
- Cover yourself and your family with mattresses or pillows to protect from falling debris
- Be sure to have your plan set up before the threat comes
You will not have much time if you wait to react the moment the tornado touches down. Keep in mind that a tornado’s wind speed can top 250 mph in an EF5 tornado and it can travel as fast as 45 mph. This gives you just seconds to take cover once it’s on the ground.
Invest In NOAA Weather Radios
These are a great investment because of the fact that these weather radios stay tuned in to the weather service 24 hours a day. There is never any interruption. The moment a weather alert comes across the wire, the weather radio will sound the customary emergency alert signal. These will sound in the middle of the night to alert the family when there is turbulent weather on the horizon. You will take comfort in knowing that even if you are sleeping when a tornado threat occurs, this little gadget will wake you up, giving you valuable minutes in order to save your lives.
Visit The Internet
The Internet has many hobby sites that are very informational in regards to teaching someone how to properly prepare for a tornado outbreak. The United States government, additionally, has many disaster preparedness websites that are very beneficial and straight to the point without the fluff. It’s best to have a variety of ideas to work with. The Internet is full of information. Sorting through the information and finding what will benefit you and your family is strictly up to you.
Above all, know what you are going to do when the threat arises. Have plenty of alternative light sources such as candles and flashlights on hand, as well as a first aid kit. Be ready to be the one to take care of your family’s needs when the tornado passes through. Unless you are one of the lucky ones, your home will have damage. But that is only secondary to making sure your family is safe and the chances of their survival are increased. Tornadoes are unpredictable, but being prepared for them will increase your chance of survival.
You may also enjoy reading an additional Off The Grid News article: Critical Spring Preps For When Mother Nature Strikes