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 Be Prepared

 City of Lorenzo

Be Informed 

 

 Tornado Action Plan
 

 When a tornado is coming, you have only a short amount of time to make life-or-death decisions. The key to surviving a tornado is knowing what to do before during and after it happens.

BEFORE
 
Conduct tornado drills each tornado season.
 
Designate an area in the home as a shelter. Have everyone in the family practice going there in response to a tornado threat.
 
Discuss with family members the difference between a "tornado watch" and a "tornado warning."
A TORNADO WATCH is given when weather conditions are favorable to the formation of tornadoes, for example, during severe thunderstorms. During a TORNADO WATCH, keep an eye on the weather and be prepared to take shelter immediately if conditions worsen. Remind family members of where the safest places are located. Listen to local TV or radio for developments.
 
A TORNADO WARNING is given when a tornado or funnel is sighted or indicated by radar. The danger is very serious and you should take shelter with a battery-powered radio immediately. Because tornadoes can form and move quickly, there may not be time for a warning. That is why it is important to stay alert during severe storms.
 

 

Have disaster supplies on hand.
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • Portable, battery-operated radio and extra batteries
  • First aid kit and manual
  • Emergency food and water
  • Non-electric can opener
  • Essential medicines
  • Cash and credit cards
  • Sturdy shoes

 

 
Develop an emergency communication plan.

In case family members are separated from one another during a tornado (a real possibility during the day when adults are at work and children are at school), have a plan for getting back together.

Ask an out-of-state relative or friend to serve as the "family contact." After a disaster, it's often easier to call long distance. Make sure everyone in the family knows the name, address, and phone number of the contact person.


Mobile Homes

Mobile homes are particularly vulnerable. A mobile home can overturn very easily even if precautions have been taken to tie down the unit. When a tornado warning is issued, take shelter in a building with a strong foundation. If shelter is not available, lie in ditch or low-lying area a safe distance away from the unit.


Tornado Danger Signs
Learn these tornado danger signs:

Large hail: Tornadoes are spawned from powerful thunderstorms and the most powerful thunderstorms produce large hail. Tornadoes frequently emerge from near the hail-producing portion of the storm.
Calm before the storm: Before a tornado hits, the wind may die down and the air may become very still.
Cloud of debris: An approaching cloud of debris can mark the location of a tornado even if a funnel is not visible.
Funnel cloud: A visible rotating extension of the cloud base is a sign that a tornado may develop. A tornado is evident when one or more of the clouds turns greenish (a phenomenon caused by hail) and a dark funnel descends.
Roaring noise: The high winds of a tornado can cause a roar that is often compared with the sound of a freight train.
Calm behind the storm: Tornadoes generally occur near the trailing edge of a thunderstorm. It is not uncommon to see clear, sunlit skies behind a tornado.


DURING
If at home:
  • Go at once to the basement, storm cellar, or the lowest level of the building.
  • If there is no basement, go to an inner hallway or a smaller inner room without windows, such as a bathroom or closet.
  • Get away from the windows.
  • Go to the center of the room. Stay away from corners because they tend to attract debris.
  • Get under a piece of sturdy furniture such as a workbench or heavy table or desk and hold on to it.
  • Use arms to protect head and neck.
  • If in a mobile home, get out and find shelter elsewhere.
If at work or school:
  • Go to the basement or to an inside hallway at the lowest level.
  • Avoid places with wide-span roofs such as auditoriums, cafeterias, large hallways, or shopping malls.
  • Get under a piece of sturdy furniture such as a workbench or heavy table or desk and hold on to it.
  • Use arms to protect head and neck.

If outdoors:
  • If possible, get inside a building.
  • If shelter is not available or there is no time to get indoors, lie in a ditch or low-lying area or crouch near a strong building. Be aware of the potential for flooding.
  • Use arms to protect head and neck.
If in a car:
  • Never try to out-run a tornado in a car or truck. Tornadoes can change direction quickly and can lift up a car or truck and toss it through the air.
  • Get out of the car immediately and take shelter in a nearby building.
  • If there is no time to get indoors, get out of the car and lie in a ditch or low-lying area away from the vehicle. Be aware of the potential for flooding.


AFTER

Help injured or trapped persons.

Give first aid when appropriate. Don't try to move the seriously injured unless they are in immediate danger of further injury. Call for help.
  • Turn on radio or television to get the latest emergency information.
  • Stay out of damaged buildings. Return home only when authorities say it is safe.
  • Use the telephone only for emergency calls.
  • Clean up spilled medicines, bleaches, or gasoline or other flammable liquids immediately. Leave the buildings if you smell gas or chemical fumes.
  • Take pictures of the damage--both to the house and its contents--for insurance purposes.

Remember to help your neighbors who may require special assistance--infants, the elderly, and people with disabilities.


INSPECTING A DAMAGED HOME

Check for gas leaks--If you smell gas or hear a blowing or hissing noise, open a window and quickly leave the building. Turn off the gas at the outside main valve if you can and call the gas company from a neighbor's home. If you turn off the gas for any reason, it must be turned back on by a professional.

Look for electrical system damage--If you see sparks or broken or frayed wires, or if you smell hot insulation, turn off the electricity at the main fuse box or circuit breaker. If you have to step in water to get to the fuse box or circuit breaker, call an electrician first for advice.

Check for sewage and water lines damage--If you suspect sewage lines are damaged, avoid using toilets and call a plumber. If water pipes are damaged, contact the City of Lorenzo and avoid using water from the tap. You can obtain safe water by melting ice cubes.

 HOW THE PUBLIC CAN HELP AFTER A DISASTER

When disaster strikes, people everywhere want to help those in need. To ensure that this compassion and generosity are put to good use, the media can highlight these facts:

Financial aid is an immediate need of disaster victims. Financial contributions should be made through a recognized voluntary organization to help ensure that contributions are put to their intended use.

Before donating food or clothing, wait for instructions from local officials. Immediately after a disaster, relief workers usually don't have time or facilities to setup distribution channels, and too often these items go to waste.

Volunteers should go through a recognized voluntary agency such as the American Red Cross or Salvation Army. They know what is needed and are prepared to deal with the need. Local emergency services officials also coordinate volunteer efforts for helping in disasters.

Organizations and community groups wishing to donate items should first contact local officials, the American Red Cross, or Salvation Army to find out what is needed and where to send it. Be prepared to deliver the items to one place, tell officials when you'll be there, and provide for transportation, driver, and unloading.

 Links for Tornado Safety
 
FEMA - Tips on Tornado Safety
FEMA - Tornado Safe Rooms
Texas Tech - Wind Science and Engineering
NOAA - National Weather Service
 
 

 

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