The Wizard of Oz gave us technicolor, Dorothy and Toto, and “there’s no place like home.” It also gave a few of us nightmares about flying monkeys and green witches, as well as a good look at why tornado preparation is so important.
As we see in the movie, Aunt Em, Uncle Henry, Hank and Zeke must find shelter without Dorothy. Caught alone in the storm, Dorothy tries to find shelter inside. As Dorothy would probably tell us, that nasty bump on the head that sent her into munchkin land could have been avoided—had she followed some safety and preparation guidelines.
When a tornado is approaching, the time for planning and preparation has passed. Preparing for a tornado, and having a family emergency plan in place will help keep you safe amid the terrifying moments before, during and after a tornado. It will also help reduce injury after the storm is over.
According to FEMA, the two things that should be done before a tornado strikes are:
Build an emergency kit
An emergency kit contains items you would need in the case of storms, fires, flooding, etc. and in the event of power outage, or no access to a store for an extended length of time. You can find assembled kits that are easy to store here. A basic emergency kit should include:
- Enough food and water for at least 72 hours, but most emergency experts recommend up to two weeks’ worth of emergency supplies
- First aid supplies
- Water filters
- Heat source
- Temporary shelter
Make a family communication plan
You should make a plan that outlines how to stay safe in a given emergency, and how to locate and communicate with each other immediately afterwards. In the case of a tornado, safety tips for your plan should include:
- During the storm, go to the lowest level in the building, closet, or hallway away from corners, windows, doors and outside walls. You can also get under a strong table and cover your head and neck.
- How to find safety at school, church, or work.
- How you will contact each other after the storm if members have been separated– designate a place to meet inside your home if it is safe as well as outside your home, but close by.
- A plan for various situations that may arise during the storm and how family members should react.
- A plan for getting disabled or aged family members to safety.
- A contact person outside of the area to check in with after the storm. This way other friends and family can contact them to find out where and how you are.
- Evacuation plans for your home.
- A plan for caring for pets when a storm hits.
Tornados are scary and can develop fast, therefore disaster preparedness is a must to ensure the safety of you and your loved ones. Take a lesson from Dorothy, and don’t let lack of preparation leave you out in the storm.