Other than the sweltering heat in the summer time in Oklahoma City, the only dilemma are tornadoes. I grew up in the middle of this tornado alley and eventually developed a sixth sense for detecting tornadic activity. Even in the 1980s tornadoes were known for their violent crime wave, vandalizing neighborhoods and kidnapping children and adults. Imagine a beautiful evening in Moore, a suburb lying on the outskirts of Oklahoma City. Mom is in the kitchen and the kids are playing in the yard. In a matter of minutes, the sky turns green and large cumulonimbus clouds start to churn. A crackle of thunder sends a chill up your spine, followed by a strong odor of ozone that fills the air as Mother Natures fireworks illuminate the dark sky. Large golf ball sized hail sting your window and a melody of car alarms play in the streets.You panic as the lights inside your house start to flicker as the tornado touches down and it is reported as an F-5, the largest of all the tornadoes, tearing through houses with awe-inspiring velocity. The tornado engorges cars, trees, and small houses as it approaches your house. Being prepared, you descend to the storm cellar and brace yourself for the full impact of the unforgiving monster. The tornado has left its calling card on your block. A scrap of metal and glass resembling your car is found on your next door neighbors lawn. The houses on your block have vanished, leaving behind a scene of ultimate destruction. Families stand outside telling stories of how their child was stripped right out of their hands as the behemoth rampaged through their houses.
Tornadoes are as serious as the SATs. If you are not prepared for the test, brace yourself for a huge impact. When a tornado is coming, you have only minutes to make life or death decisions. Remember that there are only fifteen minutes for you to take action after a tornado warning is issued for a tornado to touchdown. Advance planning and quick responses are the keys to surviving a tornado. Here are some procedures to follow that might help you survive:
Be informed. One of the most alarming aspects of tornadoes is the randomness at which it occurs. You should be well alert and informed about tornadoes. Contact the local American Red Cross and study your area for any incidence of tornadoes. Verify your insurance eligibility by calling up your insurance agent. Often inclement weather and high winds are not covered by your insurance company.
Be prepared. Devise a plan to apply during severe weather. Decide where to go if you are at school, work, home, or outdoors when a tornado strikes. Manufacture a disaster supply kit that will be very useful if the tornado entraps you in your house and you have no access to call for outside help.
A battery-operated radio is important, including a flashlight and extra batteries. Filtered water should also be stored, up to three gallons per person, in a plastic container. Add additional water for sanitation. Always have a food supply, with a supply for a minimum of three days. Canned fruits, juice, vegetables, and energy snacks are foods that are available at the local supermarket.
Access to a first aid kit is essential for survival. If the effects of the tornado injure any of your family members, you should use the kit to save their life. Have a pair of scissors, gloves, bandages in assorted sizes, petroleum jelly, a cleaning agent such as soap, and tweezers. Stock up on aspirin, antacids for an upset stomach, and any medication that you are presently taking.
Keep useful tools and supplies in a toolbox so in that in the event you are trapped, you can escape or call for help. Have a whistle, duct tape, a utility knife, and a map of your neighborhood to locate any shelters. It is also valuable to have a strong rope and a compass in case you are driving on the road.
Gather any important documents. Make sure you have records of bank account numbers, birth, and marriage certificates. Create an inventory of valuable household items and check
them off after the tornado has passed. Have a copy of your will, contracts, and deeds, passports, social security cards, and immunization records.
Go to a safe place. The safest place is often the basement, the cellar, or the lowest of the building. If you do not have a basement, move to an area away from any windows, such as the bathroom or a closet. Get under a piece of sturdy furniture such as a heavy table. Use your arms to protect your head and neck from flying debris. If you are not at home, avoid auditoriums, movie theaters, cafeterias, and shopping centers that have wide-span roofs. Never attempt to drive when there is a tornado. The tornado usually shifts directions quickly and can easily toss a large truck or car through the air. Get out of the car and seek cover under a bridge or in a low-lying area.
Help injured and trapped people. If you are in a situation where you are not trapped go outside and help as many people as possible after the twister passes. Many people usually die because the rescue units are too busy. Help people if they are trapped under fallen debris and give them first aid in the event that they are injured.
Tornado safety and preparedness are key to protecting your loved ones during a tornado. So far there has been no evidence that tornadoes pick up objects and move it to Oz, but we do know they can lift enormous objects and cause billions of dollars in damage. It is important to remember that two percent of all tornadoes are severe and most well built homes can withstand the brutal punishment. The next time natures fury strikes in your city, you will be well aware of the raw power of the tornado. Nothing is guaranteeing your survival but since you are ready for impact, you have just tripled your chances.In the words of Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, there is no place like home, there is no place like home. If you are prepared!