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Tornado season: Prepping can make all the difference

Ready to go kit contents

Tornado season is here, and Alabamians have the chance right now to take some simple steps that can save lives if our state is threatened by a storm this year.

“By preparing together for tornadoes, we can make our families safer and our communities stronger,” says Mark Beddingfield, chief executive of the Alabama Red Cross. “We urge you and your family to create a tornado preparedness plan now, before our community is threatened by severe weather.”

As with any disaster, preparation can be the difference between life and death. The Red Cross recommends that individuals and families prepare for tornadoes by:

  • Creating and practicing a Home Tornado Plan: Pick a “safe room” or uncluttered area without windows where family members and pets could seek shelter on the lowest floor possible: a basement, a center hallway, a bathroom or a closet. Putting as many walls between you and the outside provides additional protection.
  • Assembling a Emergency Preparedness Kit: Kits should contain a first aid kit and essential medications, foods that don’t require cooking or refrigeration and manual can opener, bottled water, flashlights and a battery-powered radio with extra batteries and other emergency items for the whole family.
  • Heeding Storm Warnings: Listen to your local radio and TV stations for updated storm information. A tornado WATCH means a tornado is possible in your area. When a tornado WARNING is issued, go to the safe room you picked to protect yourself from glass and other flying objects. If you are outside, hurry to the basement of a nearby sturdy building. If you are in a car or mobile home, get out immediately and head to the nearest building for safety. If you are outside and there are no buildings, lie flat in a low lying area or ditch and cover your head with your arms and hands.
  • Preparing for High Winds: Make trees more wind resistant by removing diseased and damaged limbs, and then strategically removing branches so that wind can blow through. Install permanent shutters on your windows and add protection to the outside areas of sliding glass doors. Strengthen garage doors and unreinforced masonry. Move or secure lawn furniture, outdoor decorations or ornaments, trash cans, hanging plants and anything else that can be picked up by wind and become a projectile.
  • Downloading the Free Red Cross Tornado App for Mobile Devices: You can help get your family and home ready for severe weather with the official Tornado App from the American Red Cross. The FREE Tornado app puts everything you need to know prepare for a tornado – and all that comes with it – in the palm of your hand. Download it directly from the iTunes or Google Play app stores.

More safety information and checklists can be found at www.redcross.org/prepare. For more information about your local American Red Cross visit www.redcross.org/alabama.

 

The Red Cross responds to nearly 70,000 disasters a year in this country, providing shelter, food, emotional support and other necessities to those affected. It provides 24-hour support to members of the military, veterans and their families – in war zones, military hospitals and on military installations around the world; collects and distributes more than 40 percent of the nation’s blood supply and trains more than 9 million people in first aid, water safety and other life-saving skills every year.

The Red Cross is not a government agency and relies on donations of time, money and blood to do its work. An average of 91 cents of every dollar given to the Red Cross is invested in helping the people the Red Cross services.