They’re powerful, unpredictable and the most destructive weather system on Earth. Tornadoes can devastate a town in a matter of minutes, ripping away rooftops and sending pickup trucks through the air. According to the National Centers for Environmental Information (NOAA), the United States has an average of over 1,000 tornadoes recorded each year. Every state in the U.S. has experienced a tornado at some point or another, as they’re not limited to one specific geographic location. But states like Texas, Kansas and Oklahoma are hit harder than others. If you’re moving to Tornado Alley, you’ve got to be prepared for the worst. Keep these tips in mind as you set up your new home:
Plan for Shelter
Keeping your family safe when a tornado strikes calls for a durable storm shelter. In-ground and above-ground shelters offer complete protection from the elements when inclement weather rolls in. Based out of Oklahoma, storm shelter company, Family Safe, offers certified in-home storm shelters that have been F5 certified, giving you complete protection from tornadoes. Family Safe also meets the FEMA criteria concerning reliable storm shelters. Just because they’re based out of Oklahoma doesn’t mean they can’t install a shelter at your home. Family Safe has storm shelter dealers across the U.S. and they’ve installed shelters in Dallas, Texas, Little Rock, Arkansas, and Joplin, Missouri.
In addition to providing shelter from Tornadoes, these sturdy structures can also provide a safe room environment.
Plan for Communication
There are many things that should go into your survival kit, one of those items is an Iridium satellite phone. When communication goes out, your smartphone won’t be much help. Having a satellite phone in your bug-out bag is essential when it comes to weathering a storm. Iridium satellite phones rely on ground networks and 66 low Earth-orbiting satellites to establish a connection. A report by Frost & Sullivan found that the Iridium network offers the best call quality and call completion rates when compared to competitors. This is one of the reasons why the U.S. military relies on Iridium’s network. A sat phone is your lifeline in the midst of disaster. You’ll be able to call for help and check in with family and friends to let them know that you’re safe.
Of course only relying on technology is a short-sighted plan because things do go wrong. Have a back-up communication plan with relatives or neighbors to get the word out should something happen.
In addition to letting others know about your status after a tornado, it is important to receive as much advance warning of any approaching weather as possible. A good weather alert radio can warn you even if you aren’t watching the news or checking your smart phone. If you live in areas prone to tornadoes, a system like this is essential.
Practice your plan
Once you hear that tornado warning, you’ve got to take action. Having a well-established plan outlined before disaster strikes is critical to survival. Sketch a floor plan of your home and walk each room with your family to discuss how and where to seek shelter if you don’t have a secure, dedicated room described above. Identify second exits throughout the different areas of your home. Make sure that everyone knows where the fire extinguishers and first-aid kits are located. It’s also a smart idea to teach your entire family basic first-aid skills. Keep a list of important telephone numbers and contacts in a waterproof container inside of your survival kit. Store important information like the ownership certificates for your car, truck, RV or boat, your family’s birth certificates and social security cards and insurance policies in there as well.
When the sky turns dark and you spot a funnel cloud, you must take shelter immediately. Most tornado related injuries and fatalities are caused by flying objects, according to the CDC. Practice what you and your family will do to take shelter ahead of time. A tornado can happen anywhere, that’s why it’s also important to go over the best place to seek shelter, whether you’re at home, work or school.