Have a Severe Weather Plan | Blank Children's Hospital

severe weather safety

Each year the Midwest see’s our fair share of severe weather warnings. Does your family know what to do if a tornado warning was to occur for your area?   

Just thunderstorms in and of themselves can be dangerous. Any time there is lightning, you should take shelter indoors. It is when these storms actually begin rotating, that’s when things can get really dangerous, sometimes even deadly.

Tornadoes can have a wide range of wind speed – but don’t be fooled, even a low-grade tornado with wind speeds up to 85 miles per hour can cause trees to fall, which can lead serious injuries to people and property.

Most injuries and deaths from a tornado are caused by debris being tossed around by the storm. So don’t scoff when the weatherman tells you there is a possibility for bad weather. Being aware is the first step to staying safe.

Here are a few things to think about to keep your family safe from severe weather and tornadoes.

What do you need to know about weather warnings?

  • A Severe Thunderstorm Watch means conditions are favorable for the development of a severe thunderstorm. Not every thunderstorm has the potential to produce a tornado but it’s good to understand when these storms could happen

  • A Severe Thunderstorm Warning means that a severe thunderstorm has developed and you should take shelter immediately if you are in the affected area.

  • A Tornado Watch means that conditions are favorable for the development of tornadic activity.

  • A Tornado Warning means that an active tornado is on the ground, either indicated by radar or actually sighted by someone on the ground.

Learn what you should do if a tornado strikes in your area

  • Be alert. If a tornado watch is given, know where your family is and how to get to them quickly. If your area has tornado sirens and they go off, seek shelter immediately.

  • Have a way to monitor the weather, through an app on your phone to a hand-crank radio. Don’t count on electricity being on if bad weather is in the area.

  • Have a sheltering spot set in the house, which should be the lowest spot in the building. If you don’t have a basement, get into an interior room, preferably with no windows.

  • Just like your kids do at school, you should practice your disaster drill at least once a year, so everyone understands how long it takes to get in place and if anyone has the responsibility of grabbing a smaller child or a pet.

  • Teach older children the three tornado points: Get Away. Get Shelter. Get Low.

  • If you are in a car during a tornado, get out and get into a ditch as low as possible. Do not shelter under overpasses or bridges.

Being weather ready is another great step to staying safe. Encourage your family to have tennis shoes on or ready when severe weather is in the area and make sure you have a weather survival kit in your shelter area equipped with a three day supply of food and water, a first aid kit, a radio, flashlights and batteries and other essential items like a blanket, phone charger or money. Also, consider putting helmets in your shelter area. If the weather were to become worse, helmets could help provide your family protection from flying debris.

Above all, be aware when severe weather is in your area and make sure your family has a plan for taking shelter. 

For more information visit Safe Kids – Springs Ugly Side or the National Weather Service’s weather-ready video series below.

Get Weather Ready:    

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