Tornadoes: Before, During and After
Threatening skies and gusty winds threaten Houston today with a tornado watch. The northern United States has surivived, including a tornado near San Antonio this morning. Well, it’s our turn, folks. A tornado watch has been issued for Brazoria country. If you live in an area that could be in danger of a tornado, here are some tips to keep you, your family and your home as safe and secure as possible.
Find an area to take shelter. Regardless of the impending type of storm (hurricane, tornado, flood, etc) it is always good to keep an emergency kit with non-perishable food items, batteries, and a wireless radio among other things. For a tornado, store this bag in your planned shelter area. Keep track of the local weather in your area. Be aware of times and directions that the tornado is likely to occur. Be alert of the skies in your area. Check often for funnel clouds, green-colored areas of sky, and listen for a loud roar like a freight train. If you any of these worsen to a concerning condition, don’t wait! Take cover right away.
Go to your chosen sheltered area, no matter where you are. Most importantly, stay away from windows. If possible, go to an interior room like a bathroom or hallway. A basement would be best, if you have one. As a last resort, get under heavy furniture like a large bed, and stay away from the windows. If you are outside, find as much protection as possible. Under a bridge, or at least in a ditch would be better than in the open. Keep your head covered by your arms, or a blanket. Stay there until the tornado has completely passed. Do not even look up for a moment. There could be dangerous debris in the tornado which could easily harm you.
Continue listening to the radio to be informed of instructions and advice for your area. Stay out of damaged buildings, if possible. Avoid using the telephone so that the cell towers can manage emergency calls. Clean up what is possible, and make any possible repairs to keep any damages from getting worse. If you have a camera, take lots of pictures and record any items which may have been completely removed. This will be used when you file a claim with your insurance company. For a complete checklist on tornado preperation and safety, you can refer to this checklist provided by Red Cross. Above all, stay as safe as possible!