Tornado Preparedness Requires a Plan
Tornadoes are violently rotating columns of air, extending from a thunderstorm that is in contact with the ground. Tornadoes can vary in shape, size and intensity. Most tornadoes are weak, lasting a few minutes and producing winds of less than 100 mph. However, a few tornadoes are strong or even violent. These tornadoes last from 20 minutes to over an hour and can produce winds of between 100 and 300 mph.
“The best thing to do to protect yourself and your family is to have a plan of action in place before a threatening tornado develops,” said Ware County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) Director Jonathan Daniell.
Prepare a Home Tornado Plan
- Go to www.warecounty.com, www.waycrossga.com, www.yourwarelocal.com and sign up for Code Red the free emergency notification system for the citizens of Waycross and Ware County.
- Pick a place where family members could gather if a tornado is headed your way. It could be your basement or, if there is no basement, a center hallway, bathroom, or closet on the lowest floor. Keep this place uncluttered.
- If you are in a high-rise building, you may not have enough time to go to the lowest floor. Pick a place in a hallway in the center of the building.
Assemble a Disaster Supplies Kit Containing
- First aid kit and essential medications.
- Canned food and can opener.
- At least three gallons of water per person.
- Protective clothing, bedding, or sleeping bags.
- Battery-powered radio, flashlight, and extra batteries.
- Special items for infant, elderly, or disabled family members.
- Written instructions on how to turn off electricity, gas, and water if authorities advise you to do so. (Remember, you’ll need a professional to turn natural gas service back on.)
Stay Tuned for Storm Warnings
- Listen to NOAA Weather Radio or local radio and television stations for updated storm information.
- Know what a tornado WATCH and WARNING means:
- A tornado WATCH means a tornado is possible in your area.
- A tornado WARNING means a tornado has been sighted and may be headed for your area. Go to safety immediately.
- Tornado WATCHES and WARNINGS are issued by the National Weather Service.
When a Tornado WATCH is Issued
- Listen to NOAA Weather Radio or local radio and television stations for further updates.
- Be alert to changing weather conditions. Blowing debris or the sound of an approaching tornado may alert you. Many people say it sounds like a freight train.
When a Tornado WARNING is Issued
- If you are inside, go to the safe place you picked to protect yourself from glass and other flying objects.
- The tornado may be approaching your area.
- If you are outside, hurry to the basement of a nearby sturdy building or lie flat in a ditch or low-lying area.
- If you are in a car or mobile home, get out immediately and head for safety.
After the Tornado Passes
- Watch out for fallen power lines and stay out of the damaged area.
- Listen to the radio for information and instructions.
- Use a flashlight to inspect your home for damage.
- Do not use candles at any time.