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Home Sweet Henrico

Lighting your way to Home Sweet Home!

By Shannon Milligan | Agent in Richmond, VA

Tornado Preparedness

Tornado Preparedness

WOW! That was a scary storm that just passed through the Richmond area. The rain was pouring, the wind was gushing, and the tornado watches and warnings were in effect. And me? Well, I had my ear glued to the outdoors listening for tornado warning sounds ready to sweep my kids and pets into the basement.

Tornado warning sounds? Yes! Did you know that right before a tornado is about to touch down you could hear something that sounds like a freight train, an airplane, or other load roar? This often is the case. In addition, there are other tornado warning signs according to FEMA, such as:

  • Dark, often greenish sky
  • Large hail
  • A large, dark, low-lying cloud  (particularly if rotating)

If you have discovered a tornado warning signs, please follow these tips from FEMA:

  • If you are in a structure - Go to a pre-designated shelter area such as a safe room, basement, storm cellar, or the lowest building level. If there is no basement, go to the center of an interior room on the lowest level (closet, interior hallway) away from corners, windows, doors, and outside walls. Put as many walls as possible between you and the outside. Get under a sturdy table and use your arms to protect your head and neck. Do not open windows.
  • If you are in a vehicle, trailer, or mobile home - Get out immediately and go to the lowest floor of a sturdy, nearby building or a storm shelter. Mobile homes, even if tied down, offer little protection from tornadoes.
  • If you are outside with no shelter - Lie flat in a nearby ditch or depression and cover your head with your hands. Be aware of the potential for flooding. Do not get under an overpass or bridge. You are safer in a low, flat location. Never try to outrun a tornado in urban or congested areas in a car or truck. Instead, leave the vehicle immediately for safe shelter. Watch out for flying debris. Flying debris from tornadoes causes most fatalities and injuries.

What do you do after the tornado and/or storm has passed? FEMA has the following advice:

  • Your first concern after a disaster is your family’s health and safety. You need to consider possible safety issues and monitor family health and well-being.

  • Check for injuries. Do not attempt to move seriously injured persons unless they are in immediate danger of death or further injury. If you must move an unconscious person, first stabilize the neck and back, then call for help immediately.

  • Be aware of new safety issues created by the disaster. Watch for washed out roads, contaminated buildings, contaminated water, gas leaks, broken glass, damaged electrical wiring, and slippery floors.
  • Inform local authorities about health and safety issues, including chemical spills, downed power lines, washed out roads, smoldering insulation, and dead animals.

Lucky for us, the storm passed without a tornado touching down near our home and we are only dealing with some slight flooding in our back yard. But, others were not so lucky in other areas and now have to sift through the damage and find the strength to move on. I hope by posting these tips you will find yourself prepared in the event of an approaching tornado.

For more tips and information on tornado's please visit: FEMA.

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