In Oklahoma we are all too familiar with the effects of severe weather. We know what that loud sound and green sky means. However, despite this happening year after year all too often we are caught off guard. The time to make a plan for what you will do during severe weather is now, not when you hear that tornado siren going off. Here are a few tips to help you be more proactive and prepared to handle this severe weather season.
- Be informed.
In Oklahoma County the tornado siren policy has changed. In previous years the sirens have gone off in the whole county if there was a tornado warning anywhere in the county. As of this year the sirens will only go off in the zones covered by the warning.
Always have access to some form of weather radio or a way to get weather information should the power go out or the cell towers go down. A weather radio is the best option. Check out this one from Amazon.
- Be prepared.
A storm cellar is one of those places in our house that we don’t think about cleaning regularly, but no one wants to ride out a storm with spiders or any other critters who could have made their home in that unused space over the last few months. So take a Saturday morning and give your storm shelter a good cleaning and restocking. Some ideas for what to have in your storm shelter would be some non-perishable snack foods, bottled water, a change of clothes for every member of your family, a jacket, a blanket or two, battery powered lanterns, extra batteries and a pair of shoes that currently fits everyone. You could even store some books or coloring books to help distract the kids. These items can help you during the storm and can help you be able to handle the aftermath of a storm.
If you have children take that Saturday where you clean the shelter to be a day where you practice what to do in a severe storm situation. Just like we practice what to do when there is a fire, we should practice what to do in severe weather. The more your practice the easier it will be for your kids to respond appropriately when the time comes. If you do not have a place in your home where you seek shelter help the kids identify the safest place in the house to go or if you will go to a neighbor’s house. Have a plan in place, and practice that plan. Practice will ensure that everyone is sticking to the plan when stress levels are high.
Have a safe spot for any keepsakes or important documents. If you can have copies of important documents in place that they can be taken with you when you seek shelter that would help in case something were to happen during the storm.
- Be calm.
This may seem like trite overused advice, but when the threat of storms come in, stay calm. The weather is unpredictable, but you have prepared for what could happen. If you stay calm the people and children around you will find it easier to stay calm.
Words of Wisdom (OKWX edition)
- Never drive or walk into high water. If a flood occurs get to high ground as quickly as possible. Remember, turn around don’t drown.
- Never take shelter under an overpass.
- Stay away from trees or windows during a storm.
- Avoid driving during these storms if at all possible.
- Hail is small but powerful. If you are driving and hail begins to fall find a sheltered location as soon as possible.
- On days where severe weather is possible be sure to keep your phone charged as much as possible.
- Don’t plug computers or laptops directly into a wall or power failure may ruin those devices.
Is the thought of doing this severe weather prep overwhelming? We are here to help.