Monday, April 25, 2011

Prepare for Another Round of Severe Weather Across North Texas

Photo courtesy of NWS/NOAA

Over the last week, it seems every time you turn around there is yet another severe weather alert being issued. Today is no different as Dallas County has been placed under a Tornado Watch until 6:00 p.m. along with other areas in the Metroplex. While you should already have a plan in place for these severe weather dangers that continue to occur, if you don’t have a tornado plan yet the time to procrastinate is over. Take a few moments today to make sure you are ready to move to your safe place if the time comes. Here are some tips to prepare and some items you may need if severe weather threatens your neighborhood.

Know the Difference

Tornado Watch: Tornadoes are possible in and near the watch area. Review and discuss your emergency plans, and check supplies and your safe room. Be ready to act quickly if a warning is issued or you suspect a tornado is approaching. Acting early helps to save lives!

Tornado Warning: A tornado has been sighted or indicated by weather radar. Tornado warnings indicate imminent danger to life and property. Go immediately under ground to a basement, storm cellar or an interior room (closet, hallway or bathroom).

Ways You Can Prepare

The following are procedures you should follow in order to prepare your family for tornadoes:

  • Pick a safe place in your home where family members could gather during a tornado, windstorm or major hail storm. The safest place to be is underground, or as low to the ground as possible, and away from all windows. Unfortunately, many residents in the Metroplex do not have basements, therefore an interior hallway or room on the lowest floor is the best choice. Putting as many walls between you and the outside will provide additional protection. Also make sure there are no windows or glass doors in your safe place and keep this place uncluttered.

  • Get out of your mobile home and choose a safe place in a nearby sturdy building. Mobile homes are much more vulnerable to strong winds than site-built structures. If your mobile home park has a designated shelter, make it your family's safe place.

  • If you are in a vehicle, get out immediately. Find a sturdy nearby structure and take shelter. If there is no building nearby, go to a low-lying area until the storm passes. Taking cover under bridges is not recommended.

  • If you are in a high-rise building, pick a place in a hallway in the center of the building. You may not have enough time to go to the lowest floor. Center hallways are often structurally the most reinforced part of a building.

  • Check with your work and your children's schools and day care centers to learn tornado emergency plans. Every building has different safe places. It is important to know where they are and how to get there in an emergency.
  • Assemble a Disaster Supplies Kit. This kit should be kept near your safe room, whether at home, work or school, and should contain supplies such as bottled water, flashlights with extra batteries, first aid supplies, an AM/FM or NOAA Weather radio and additional important items.

  • Conduct periodic tornado drills so everyone remembers what to do when a tornado is approaching. Practice having everyone in the family go to your designated area in response to a tornado threat. Practicing your plan makes the appropriate response more of a reaction, requiring less thinking time during an actual emergency situation.

  • Discuss tornadoes with your family. Everyone should know what to do in case all family members are not together. Discussing disaster ahead of time helps reduce fear and lets everyone know how to respond during a tornado.

  • Log on to to download free tips on getting prepared for severe weather.
In the event that severe weather does impact the North Texas area, the American Red Cross-Dallas Area Chapter will be ready to respond. Real-time updates for any responses can be found by following @RedCrossDallas on Twitter.

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