As you see and hear the devastating details about the tornado in Oklahoma City, stop and ask yourself “Am I prepared?” What about your family? Your friends?
Do you know where you’d go in your home if a tornado came to town? What about when you’re at work? Or during your commute?
All to often we have seconds to seek shelter. Seconds that could be the difference between life and death. So are you prepared?
Tornadoes have hit every state in the US and everyone needs to have a plan in place. Some states are more tornado prone than others, but no one is immune.
The image above contains tornado tracks across the US from 1950 to 2011 as created by IDV Solutions. The darker purple lines are week F0 storms were as the brighter neon blues represent powerful F5 storms. Tornado Tracks is a beautiful yet terrifying map.
Being prepared starts with purchasing a weather radio. Weather radios are inexpensive and will alert you as soon as severe weather strikes. They’ve also advanced over the past decade to bring you better alerts. If your weather radio doesn’t have S.A.M.E technology (Specific Area Message Encoding) then you may want to look into upgrading. You also have to make sure your weather radio is plugged in and setup. To often people say they have one, but it’s still in the box or that they turned it off once and never turned it back on.
You should also have an app for your phone to alert you as well. This is especially handy when you’re not at home. The Red Cross has a free Tornado app for iOS and Android. Not only does it do alerts, but it also has information on being prepared, what to do during and after a storm, and recovery information. It lists out the shelters in your area if you need someplace to go after a tornado too.
Chances are you can also get text weather alerts from local TV or radio stations or even weather alerts via Twitter.
Sometimes just watching the TV weather report or keeping an eye on the sky works too. Knowing what the day may bring gives you valuable information for planning out your day.
And it doesn’t stop with just tornadoes. Are you prepared for a fire? An earthquake? Other natural disasters or emergency situations? We often get so busy with everything else in life that we forget to make plans for when our world gets turned upside down.
So as you take in the unbelievable imagery and stories from Oklahoma City, take some time, make some plans, and ensure your family and friends know what to do in case of a tornado, fire or other emergency situation.