Tornadoes – You Ain’t Dorothy
Tornadoes are among the most dramatic and intense natural disasters in the world. Because they are small enough to fit into a single camera lens, they can be amazing to watch. Tornadoes have spawned hundreds of movies, most of them terrible (if you haven’t seen ‘Sharknado’, you haven’t lived!).
Other than shark riddled tornadoes, most tornadoes do very little damage to homes and lives. Most often, they destroy lots of crops and grasslands.
Still, if you live in Tornado Alley, you need to prepare.
Where is Tornado Alley?
Image Courtesy of FEMA
Tornado Alley runs right up through the middle of the United States. As you can see, it runs from Texas to Minnesota and Kansas to Ohio.
What is the most important thing to do to prepare for a tornado?
Have a place to hide. They say that a bathtub is okay, but frankly, an underground storm shelter or a basement that has a reinforced corner is a much better idea. If you live in a tornado prone area, you really need to take the time to have someplace where the family can go when the siren goes off.
What about provisions?
Standard stuff is important: food, water, etc. These should be accessible form the storm shelter and protected from the storm itself. If you have canned food, for the love of Pete, make sure you have a can opener. Everything in cans is precooked, so even meat products can be eaten right from the can.
How can we communicate?
The likelihood that all of the cell towers will be knocked out is slim, so have a cell phone with you in the shelter. Unless someone is hurt, DO NOT make any calls. Firstly, it is likely that you won’t get through. Secondly, you might be taking up a bit of cell time that someone might need for an emergency. If you must tell someone that you are okay, text message them. It uses much less bandwidth and will be sent after the phone calls are taken care of.
We say it every time, but even a cell phone with no service can call 911.
What about charging my cell phone and having light?
A hand crank and/or solar powered charging device can make a huge difference. (Shameless self-promotion ahead!) At DTC Lifetools, we have a couple of devices, The PowerSafe and MiniBoomer, that can be charged by crankhandle and/or USB. The PowerSafe even has a solar collector to charge by sunlight if needed. They also have lights and radios to help keep you informed and able to see in the dark.
The key to surviving a tornado is to plan ahead and react quickly. Forget the stuff… Grab the loved ones and get underground.