Once again, the chance for severe thunderstorms containing high winds, damaging hail and isolated tornadoes is possible across North Texas. The time to prepare is now. The American Red Cross offers the following tips to keep families safe:
- Pick a safe place in your home where family members could gather during a tornado or straight-line windstorm. The safest place to be is underground, or as low to the ground as possible, and away from all windows. Make sure there are no windows or glass doors in your safe place and keep this place uncluttered.
- Check with your employer to determine where to seek shelter during the workday. Make sure your employer has a battery operated radio or a weather radio and essential supplies in the company safe room(s).
- If you live in a mobile home, 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 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. Do NOT drive to your child’s school or day care center during a severe storm outbreak.
- 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.
- BE RED CROSS READY. Follow 3 Action Steps for Preparedness—Get a Kit, Make a Plan, Be Informed. A free online education module is available at www.redcross.org/BeRedCRossReady to guide users through the three preparedness steps. The ten minute presentation, available in English and Spanish, includes a downloadable disaster supply kit checklist and emergency contact card.