Tornadoes and Storms: Be Prepared

Tornado and Storm Preparation Checklist from the American Red Crossstorm clouds

Our local chapter of the Red Cross does an outstanding job responding to the needs of our community after tornado devastation. They have shared a helpful checklist for families. Let’s take the time to make sure we are more prepared in the future.

  • Prepare a Home Tornado Plan. 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.
  • Put together a Disaster Supplies Kit.  It should contain: 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 your local radio and TV 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 county or parish.
  • When a Tornado WATCH Is issued…Listen to local radio and TV 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 (as above).
  • 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.

Submitted by our local chaper of the American Red Cross. Log on to or call 217-522-3357 for additional information on storm preparedness.

If you need a tool to help your discussion with your young child(ren) about the storm disasters, consider “Friends to the Rescue,” Sony Wonder. In this DVD, the Sesame Street gang prepares for an impending hurricane and then friends work together to help Big Bird repair his nest. Parenting Magazine rated it among its best DVDs/videos of the year.

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