Prepare for the unexpected during tornado season

By Tanya Davis | Published Wednesday, April 13, 2016

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It’s tornado season, and hopefully one of these violent storms will not strike Wise County this year. However, it is always smart to be prepared for the unexpected by preparing a home tornado plan.

Pick a place in your home as a shelter, and practice having family members go there during drill sessions. A storm cellar, center hallway, bathroom or closet on the lowest level of your home is best. Take your pets and your emergency kit with you.

A basic emergency supply kit could include the following items (recommended by ready.gov) and should be assembled and customized according to individual needs:

  • one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation
  • at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food
  • battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both
  • flashlight and extra batteries
  • first-aid kit
  • whistle to signal for help
  • dust mask to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place
  • moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
  • wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
  • manual can opener for food
  • local maps
  • cell phone with chargers, inverter or solar charger

Develop an emergency family communication plan. Select an out-of-town friend or relative for everyone to check in with if family members are in different locations during a disaster. Make sure everyone in the family knows the name, address and phone number of this contact person.

It is also a good idea to visit with neighbors to determine how you can work together during an emergency. Also be aware of tornado warning sirens in your community and know if you can hear them from your home and work.

For information concerning preparing for the unexpected during a tornado, call Texas A&M AgriLife Extension, Wise County at 940-627-3341.

Tanya Davis is a Wise County Extension agent.

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