Tornado Safety Week
Winter has finally faded away and springtime sunshine has returned! Summer will be here before long, bringing the risk of severe weather with it. National Tornado Awareness Week is April 13-17, the perfect time to prepare for the upcoming storm season. Tornadoes are most common in the Midwest between May and August, with June being the peak of the season. In 2019, Wisconsin had 28 tornadoes touch down, while the average is 23 touchdowns a year. Although each tornado is different, they should be taken seriously no matter the size or severity.
Here are three easy steps, keeping you and your family safe from tornadoes:
- Watch the Weather Forecast. Being aware of potential storms allows you to adequately prepare for danger. Installing a weather radio or receiving notifications to your phone will give you information when storms are in your area.
- A“Tornado Watch” tells you the conditions are good for a tornado.
- A“Tornado Warning” tells you a tornado has been spotted.
- Seek Shelter. If a tornado has been spotted, you should seek shelter. This should prompt you to go in the basement, under the stairs or move to an interior room in the lowest level of the house and cover yourself. If possible, take shelter in a room without windows. If you are outside, find a sturdy building to seek shelter. If you are driving and cannot find shelter, buckle yourself in the car and stay there, keeping your head below the windows. If the ditch is noticeably lower, exit the vehicle and lay in the ditch, covering your head.
- Have an Emergency Plan. Your family should know where to go in the case of severe weather, decreasing the amount of time at greater risk. Teaching children when to go into the shelter and what to bring will help keep everyone safe and calm. Practicing an at-home tornado drill can help your family feel confident if a storm puts your home in danger.
Within your shelter, having an emergency supply kit can prepare you for an emergency. According to the National Weather Service, consider including the following items:
- Bottled water
- Non-perishable food
- Flashlight + extra batteries
- First Aid Kit
- Sleeping bag or warm blanket
- Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
If you have children, allowing them to have a toy or game while taking shelter can help pass the time if you are there for an extended period.
After a storm has passed, continue listening to local news, as storm systems can produce more severe weather. Be sure to assess the damage surrounding your home or car. If power lines are down, contact local authorities before walking near the damage. Finally, check-in on neighbors, especially elderly people, to ensure that no injuries were sustained during the storm.
Take these simple steps to prepare your family, keeping everyone safe during severe weather this summer.