Tornado Awareness & Home Safety

By Angela Pagenkopf, RN & Infection Preventionist – On behalf of the Safety Squad at Southwest Health.

With tornado season quickly approaching, now is a great time to review with your family what they should do when they see a tornado or hear a tornado warning.  Educating yourself and your family is one of the best ways you can help provide protection.

During a tornado, people face hazards from the extremely high winds, and risk being struck by flying or falling objects.

After a tornado, the wreckage left behind poses additional injury risks. Although nothing can be done to prevent tornadoes, there are actions you can take to protect your family’s health and safety.

Important measures to take:

  • Take a few minutes with your family to develop a tornado emergency plan.  Sketch a floor plan of where you live, or walk through each room and discuss where and how to seek shelter for various scenarios.
  • Make an emergency supply tote.  Include a blanket, water and working flashlight with instructions of how to react, including your emergency plan.
  • Discover alternate ways to exit from each room or area.  If you need special equipment, such as a rope or ladder, note where it is located.
  • Make sure the location of your first-aid kit and fire extinguishers are sketched on your plan.
  • Mark where the utility switches or gas valves are located so they can be turned off – if time permits during an emergency.
  • Teach your family how to administer basic first aid, how to use a fire extinguisher, and how/when to turn off the water, gas, and electricity in your home.
  • Learn the emergency dismissal policy for your child’s school.
  • Make sure your children know:
    • What a tornado is.
    • What tornado watches and warnings are and the differences between the two.
    • What county they live in (warnings are issued by county).
    • How to take shelter, whether at home or at school.
    • Emergency phone numbers for family members.

Once you have a plan, conduct drills and ask questions to make sure your family remembers information on tornado safety, particularly how to recognize hazardous weather conditions and how/where to take shelter.  These steps are crucial to being prepared for a weather emergency and to keeping you and your family safe.

Although tornados can virtually happen at any time, peak tornado season in Wisconsin is May through August with June having the greatest number of tornadoes.  Be prepared and stay safe!

Source: CDC website

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