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Monday, April 11, 2011

Tornado/Severe Weather Awareness Week

photo credit - American Red Cross

April 11-15 is Wisconsin's Tornado/Severe Weather Awareness Week.

In order to be prepared for this type of weather emergency you ought to have ready a disaster emergency kit - commonly called a 72-hour kit.

At minimum your kit should include:

- 3-day supply of water for your family (minimum subsistence level of 1 gallon per person per day)
- one change of clothing and footwear per person
- blanket or sleeping bag per person
- rain gear and appropriate outerwear to keep your family warm and dry
- tarp or shelter materials
- a first-aid kit, including prescription medications
- lightweight shelf-stable foods (and any dishes & cooking equipment that might be needed)
- battery or hand-crank powered NOAA weather radio
- flashlights and extra batteries or hand-crank flashlights
- fire starting materials (magnesium firestarter, flint and steel, waterproof matches, etc. in case you need to shelter outdoors)
- some cash
- extra set of car keys
- toys or simple games to keep children occupied
- any special items needed for infants or elderly family members

You should also prepare your family by having an emergency plan in place. Practice the plan by having regular drills with your family members. Know what county you live in and be aware of weather notices. Know what warning system is in place in your community. Keep tuned to radio, television, or Internet weather broadcasts.

Familiarize yourself with weather emergency terminology.

Tornado Watch: Conditions are favorable for the development of tornadoes in your area. Remain alert for approaching storms.

Tornado Warning: A tornado is imminent (based on weather radar information) or has been sighted by spotters. If a tornado warning is issued for your area - move to your pre-designated place of safety. Seek shelter immediately!

Severe Thunderstorm Watch: Conditions are favorable for the development of severe thunderstorms with damaging straight-line (downburst) winds and/or large hail.

Severe Thunderstorm Warning: Severe thunderstorms with damaging straight-line winds and/or large hail are imminent or are occurring.

In case of a tornado warning you need to take shelter:

• In a house with a basement: Avoid windows. Get in the basement and under some kind of sturdy protection (heavy table, work bench or stairs), or cover yourself with a mattress or sleeping bag.

• In a house with no basement, a dorm, or an apartment: Avoid windows. Go to the lowest floor, small center room (like a bathroom or closet), under a stair well or in an interior hallway with no windows. Crouch as low as possible to the floor, facing down; and cover your head with your hands. Even in an interior room, you should cover yourself with some sort of thick padding (mattress, blankets, etc.), to protect against flying or falling debris.

• In an office building: Go directly to an enclosed, windowless area in the center of the building -- away from glass. Then, crouch down and cover your head. Interior stairwells are usually good places to take shelter. Stay off elevators- you could become trapped in them if the power is lost.

• In a mobile home: Get out! Most tornadoes can destroy even tied-down mobile homes. If your community has a tornado shelter, go there fast. If there is a sturdy permanent building within close distance, seek shelter there. Otherwise, lie flat on low ground away from your home, protecting your head. If possible, use open ground away from trees and cars, which can be blown onto you.

• At school: Follow the drill! Go to the interior hall or room in an orderly way as you are told. Crouch low, head down, and protect the back of your head with your arms. Stay away from windows and large open rooms like gyms and auditoriums.

• In a car or truck: If tornado is in the distance, drive at right angles to the tornado movement. If there is time, get out of your vehicle and seek shelter in a permanent building. If there is no time, you have a choice – you can stay in your vehicle with your seat belt on, or you can get out and lie flat and face down, protecting the back of your head with your arms. Either way you run the risk of injuries or death.

Ready Wisconsin
National Weather Service
American Red Cross

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Wisconsin Preppers Network Est. Jan 17, 2009 All contributed articles owned and protected by their respective authors and protected by their copyright. Wisconsin Preppers Network is a trademark protected by American Preppers Network Inc. All rights reserved. No content or articles may be reproduced without explicit written permission.