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Moms Talk: Are You Ready for Extreme Weather?

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With tornado season upon us, make sure you know what to do in case of a weather emergency.

Be informed

Whether you have an emergency alert radio or get alerts on your cell phone (not much help if reception is down), establish a way to find out about dangerous weather, road closings or any other local emergency before you need to.

Assemble a kit

Once you lose power or have to seek shelter in a safe part of your home, it’s too late to wonder if you have the supplies you need. Be sure to put together an emergency kit now that includes, among other things, a three-day supply of food and water, along with a weather radio, flashlight, batteries and a first-aid kit. Visit ready.gov for more details.

Make a plan

Talk to your family now about what you will do and where you will go in case of emergency. If a tornado is headed your way, avoid windows and go to the lowest floor, preferably to a small room like a bathroom or closet. A bathtub can offer some protection. If you are at home and have a basement, go there and get under a heavy table or work bench. Avoid areas underneath heavy objects on the floor above like a piano or refrigerator. Wherever you take shelter, crouch as low as you can, face down, and cover your head with your hands. Also try to cover yourself with a mattress, sleeping bag or whatever you can find to protect yourself from falling debris.

Know who to contact

Your emergency kit should include the numbers for the local power, gas and water companies and also an out-of-town (or out-of-state) contact who may escape outages in your area and whom everyone in your family can call in case you get separated. You can program this number into your phone as ICE – “In Case of Emergency”. If you are ever in an accident, emergency responders will often check for that listing in your contacts to notify someone you know.

Also be sure that your kids know how to send text messages, since they can sometimes get around network disruptions when a phone call can’t.

David Eckoff September 08, 2011 at 01:13 AM
Good article, Emily. Related, here are suggestions for how to choose a weather radio, with quotes from Virginia-Highland residents about their weather radios: http://vahi.patch.com/articles/how-to-choose-a-weather-radio My weather radio worked exactly as intended on Sunday. I was alerted to the tornado warning for our county minutes before the alerts hit the TV. And in the event of a tornado coming at your house, 1 or 2 extra minutes to take cover could be a matter of life or death.
David Eckoff September 08, 2011 at 01:17 AM
One other piece of advice that I read about Sunday: if there is a tornado headed in the direction of your house, if you have a motorcycle helmet, football helmet, skateboard helmet or bike helmet... wear it as you take cover in your sheltered location. Flying debris causes most deaths and injuries during a tornado. If flying debris hits your head, a helmet can help improve your odds of survival.
Emily Soares Proctor September 09, 2011 at 07:26 PM
Thanks for these great additions, David. I was lucky enough to do a tour of the National Weather Service facilities in Peachtree City today and our meteorologist/guide had another great piece of advice: when you go to take cover, be sure to have a pair of shoes with you. If the worst should happen, you don't want to have to walk around in the debris barefoot or in socks.

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