Friday, March 8, 2013

Lessons in Severe Weather Planning

by Kristen Kerr, volunteer contributor

It's National Severe Weather Preparedness Week, so it's a great time to be thinking about what you should be doing to prepare for bad weather. In fact, that was the point of our big multi-state disaster drill this weekend: to prepare when the sky is blue for when it isn't.

As a native Texan (born and raised), I have been through the tornadoes, droughts, floods, severe thunderstorms, wildfires and heat waves. Over the years, I learned a thing or two about how to prepare not only myself, but also my family, for severe weather. 

During the tornadoes that ripped through Fort Worth in 2000, I was home by myself. I was about 11 years old and I was trying to stay safe (and alive). I had my dad’s weather radio turned on and since it runs on batteries, it was perfect, because if the electricity went out, it would still function. The radio kept me informed on the storm’s progress. Later, I went into our downstairs closet and made sure it was clear of anything heavy or harmful that could hurt me during the storm. I also took a blanket and flashlight with me so that I could stay warm and see (just in case we lost electricity). 

That was really all that I knew how to do at the time since I was just a child, and shortly after that, my parents bought me a cell phone in case of emergencies like that one. 
Prepare an emergency kit in case of severe weather.
Or, you can get one from!

Since then, I began an internship with the American Red Cross, and I have learned quite a bit more in regards to staying safe during severe weather. 

In fact, there is a 3-step plan that everyone should put into action when severe weather threatens:
  1. Get a kit. A kit can be as simple as a plastic tub. The kit should contain bottled water, canned foods, cereal bars, flashlights, batteries, weather radios, first aid kits, hand sanitizer, disinfecting wipes, medicine and copies of important documents.
  2. Make a plan. It is important to have a plan of action prepared because when any severe weather warning is issued it is easy to get overwhelmed, scared and confused. If you have a plan, all you need to do is follow it. You don’t need to worry about trying to think of where to go and how to get there. It’s already done!
  3. Be prepared. It’s a great idea to have your kit pre-made and stored somewhere with easy accessibility. Also do a trial run if your action plan with your family, so that when you severe weather hits, you know what to do!
When I was a little girl, being alone during the tornadoes felt like a bad dream because I didn’t know what was going on outside and how bad it really was! However, in today’s ever changing technological world, it no longer has to feel that way! I was excited to learn that the American Red Cross has launched their new tornado app that includes a high-pitched siren and alerts for when a tornado warning has been issued in your area and later signals an “all clear” alert so that users know when a warning has expired or been cancelled. I know if this app would have been around during the 2000 tornadoes, I would have felt a lot safer and smarter! 

You can feel safer and smarter too. Download the new app for free at Stay safe this spring season!

1 comment:

  1. Great Article it its really informative and innovative keep us posted with new updates. its was really valuable. thanks a lot.
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