At least 13 people died and dozens more were injured as recent, severe storms brought flooding and tornadoes to Missouri, Arkansas, Mississippi and Texas. That sounds even worse than the one Dorothy survived in the Wizard of Oz! Just one snapshot of the havoc that tornadoes cause, this event demonstrates why tornadoes are considered nature’s most violent storms – able to level entire neighborhoods and city streets in mere seconds. Equally disturbing, in many areas of the country, the question about tornadoes is not “if,” but “when?”Subscribers to the Allied Universal Fire Life Safety Training System have access to a comprehensive tornado training module
Your community could face the wrath of the phenomenon described as a rotating, funnel-shaped cloud that extends from a thunderstorm to the ground with whirling winds of up to 300 miles per hour. I hope our community doesn’t experience a tornado. I’m not sure the doghouse would survive. Subscribers to the Allied Universal Fire Life Safety Training System have access to a comprehensive tornado training module, which explains how to be safe before, during and after a tornado hits. In our ongoing effort to help educate and keep our friends and subscribers safe, we have also assembled some valuable tornado trivia and tips:
Damage paths can exceed one mile wide and 50 miles long. I’ve seen cats do that much damage.
The average forward speed of a tornado is 30 mph, but may vary from stationary to 70 mph.
Although the average tornado moves Southwest to Northeast, tornadoes can move in any direction.
Every state is at some risk of tornadoes, although certain states are more tornado-prone. For example, in the Midwest, tornadoes are frequently reported east of the Rocky Mountains during spring and summer months.
Peak tornado season in southern states is March through May; in the northern states, it is late spring through early summer.
Tornadoes are most likely to occur between 3 p.m. and 9 p.m., but can occur at any time.
Some tornadoes are clearly visible, while others are obscured by rain or nearby low-hanging clouds.
Certain tornadoes develop so rapidly that little advanced warning is possible.
Before a tornado hits, winds may die down and air may become still. In fact, some attribute the idiom, “calm before the storm,” to this phenomenon.
Tornadoes generally occur near the trailing edge of a thunderstorm.
A cloud of debris may mark the location of a tornado even when a funnel is not visible. A cloud of debris seems to follow my son, JR.
They may appear nearly transparent until dust and debris are picked up or a cloud forms in the funnel.
It is not uncommon to see clear, sunlit skies behind a tornado.
A Tornado Watch means tornadoes are possible. Remain alert for approaching storms.
A Tornado Warning indicates a tornado has been sighted or indicated by weather radar. Immediately take shelter.
Notice changing weather conditions. Look for approaching storms.
Be aware of the following danger signs: dark, greenish sky; large hail; a large, dark, low-flying cloud, and/or a loud roar (like a freight train).
If you see approaching storms or any of the danger signs, be prepared to take shelter immediately.
During a Tornado
If you are in a structure when a tornado hits:
Go to a pre-designated area such as a safe room, basement, storm cellar, or the center of a small interior room on the lowest building level. In a high-rise building, go to a small interior room or hallway on the lowest floor possible.
Put on sturdy shoes.
Keep windows closed.
Bring your pets inside.
If you are in a manufactured home or office when a tornado hits:
Immediately exit and head to a pre-identified location such as the lowest floor of a sturdy, nearby building or a storm shelter. This advice would also probably apply to doghouses.
If you are outside without shelter when a tornado happens:
If you are not in a sturdy building, there is no single research-based recommendation for the last-resort action to take because many factors can affect your decision. Possible actions include:
Immediately get into a vehicle, buckle your seat belt and try to drive to the closest sturdy shelter. If your vehicle is hit by flying debris while you are driving, pull over and park.
Take cover in a stationary vehicle. Put the seat belt on and cover your head with your arms and a blanket, coat or other cushion if possible.
Lie in an area noticeably lower than the level of the roadway and cover your head with your arms and a blanket, coat or other cushion if possible.
In every situation:
Never seek cover under an overpass or bridge. You are safer in a low, flat location.
Don’t try to outrun a tornado in urban or congested areas, while in a car or truck. Instead, leave the vehicle immediately for safe shelter. Sounds like it might be hard to outrun tornado wherever you are.
Watch out for flying debris. Flying debris from tornadoes causes most fatalities and injuries.
Listen to local weather reports and officials for updates and instructions.
Check-in with family and friends by texting or using social media.
Watch out for debris and downed power lines.
If you are trapped, do not move about or kick up dust. Tap on a pipe or wall or use a whistle, if you have one, to alert rescuers about your location.
Stay out of damaged buildings and homes. Sounds like a good idea even without the tornado.
Photograph the damage to your property to assist in filing insurance claims.
Do what you can to prevent further damage to your property, (e.g., putting a tarp on a damaged roof), as insurance may not cover additional damage that occurs after the storm.
If your home is without power, use flashlights or battery-powered lanterns rather than candles to prevent accidental fires.
Remember that safety is important for everyone across continents. A convenient and affordable way to make sure you are prepared for disasters and emergencies of virtually every kind is to subscribe to the Allied Universal Fire Life Training System, which has been designed to help improve and save lives. For more information about the best system out there, or to subscribe, click here.
Tornadoes present a significant weather-related risk across much of the country. Last week, we began a two-part series about how to prepare for and recover from tornadoes, which is particularly important in 2016, thanks to El Niño. I sure hope El Niño won’t affect bacon production. That’s at the top of my emergency supply list.
As noted in last week’s post, the RJWestmore Training System has recently added a tornado module to further enhance our comprehensive training program. Last week, our post covered what to do to prepare for a tornado. The following post will wrap up our two-week series, focusing on what to do during and after a tornado.
Many cities use an undulating, wailing warning system that sounds for three to four minutes to alert the public about tornadoes. I know a lot of dogs who use a similar system to warn their masters of impending doom. If you hear this signal or are otherwise notified that a tornado is imminent:
At home or work, go to the pre-determined safe zone or basement as quickly as possible.
If you are in a high-rise building, don’t stay in a large, open area that has windows. Instead, seek out a closet or interior hallway to take cover.
Do not leave the building.
If you cannot get to a safe zone or basement, seek shelter under a large, sturdy piece of furniture. I find that desks and chairs provide comfort as well as protection.
Steer clear of windows and avoid being hit by flying objects.
Listen to NOAA weather conditions.
If you are away from home, find a small, interior room or hallway and protect your head and neck with your arms and a coat or blanket. And if you’re a canine, tuck in your tail.
If you are in a vehicle, do not attempt to outdrive the tornado. But do not stay in the car, as tornadoes can significantly damage automobiles. Park the car as quickly as possible, well away from traffic. If possible, find shelter in a sturdy building or underground. If you are not near a building, seek shelter in a spot that is at the lowest level possible. It is a myth that an overpass would provide shelter from a tornado. It is far safer to literally lie low and cover your head and neck with your arms and a coat or blanket. But make sure you are far from trees and vehicles.
After a Tornado
Studies have shown that a great deal of tornado-related injuries occur after a tornado when people are walking among the debris and enter damaged buildings. Injuries can also occur during rescue attempts, cleanup and other post-tornado activities. So be careful and follow these tips:
Unless you are facing a life-threatening situation, do not leave the safe zone until the warning has officially been lifted.
Listen for emergency information and instructions as well as weather updates and the “all clear” signal.
Do a quick survey of the damage to determine major hazards, looking for fires, leaks and electrical shorts.
Anticipate power outages and use the flashlight in your emergency kit to light the way as you check interior spaces and during evacuation.
Take time to have a snack. (Okay…I added that suggestion. But I think that snacks are always a good idea.)
Do not use an open flame or turn on electrical switches, especially if you smell gas.
Establish a safe location to use for triage. Do not move seriously injured people unless they are in immediate danger of further injury.
When it is safe to do so, use telephones for emergency calls, only.
Avoid unnecessary movement, which could stir up debris and affect breathing.
If you are trapped, tap on metal or another loud surface or, better yet, use a whistle to alert emergency responders. Shout only as a last resort. Bark, if applicable.
When evacuation routes are determined to be safe and you are instructed to do so:
Do not use elevators
Proceed to the safest exit, using the most continuous handrail
Before opening any doors, feel the door with the back of your hand (or paw), to check for heat.
Proceed to your designated safe refuge area and check in.
Do not reenter the building until you are told it is safe to do so by building management and emergency responders.
Remember that safety is a daily priority, so be sure to think safety all of the time. A convenient and affordable way to make sure you are prepared for disasters and emergencies of virtually every kind is to subscribe to the RJWestmore Training System by Universal Fire/Life Safety Services, which has been designed to help improve and save lives. For more information about the best system out there, or to subscribe, click here.
Arguably nature’s most violent storms, an average of 1,000 tornadoes strike each year in the United States. Spawned from powerful thunderstorms, tornadoes often strike with little or no warning, wreaking havoc on communities of all kinds…from suburban neighborhoods to metropolitan areas. And here I thought that cats were the only thing to spawn something capable of wreaking havoc on canine communities! Surprisingly, tornadoes actually pose a risk to virtually every state in the union, not just tornado-prone regions. And this is especially true in 2016, thanks to El Niño.
The RJWestmore Training System by Universal Fire/Life Safety Services is a subscription-based e-learning training system that prepares high-rise building occupants to anticipate and respond to disasters of all kinds. A recent addition to the comprehensive system is a tornado module, which uses sound educational material, presented in an entertaining format, to train building occupants to understand their emergency plan as well as their role in it; how to make their home or workplaces safe; and what to do before, during and after an emergency. I love watching the videos in the RJWestmore Training System. Cartoons and voiceover are a great way to educate! In this first post in our two-part blog series, we will cover safety steps relative to tornado preparation.
In part two, we will discuss what to do during and after a tornado. Here are some highlights of the life-saving topics covered in the first few video segments of the RJWestmore Training System tornado module:
Some tornadoes develop with little or no warning. So preparation is vital long before a siren wails, signaling the start of a tornado event. My appetite also hits with little or no warning.
Before a tornado hits, it is important to stay informed about weather conditions and listen for radio or televised instructions given by local emergency management officials.
Long before a tornado hits, make sure you identify and practice moving to your closest safe zone or basement and that you understand the difference between a tornado watch and a tornado warning:
A tornado has been sighted or indicated by weather radar.
Take shelter immediately.
This is a summary of how our training system instructs subscribers about the steps to take for safety before, during and after a tornado:
Before a Tornado
Practice evacuation procedures.
Maintain an emergency supply kit. (The RJWestmore Training System by Universal Fire/Life Safety Services provides subscribers with a complete list of emergency supplies, available in the resources section of the training system website.) We sure provide lots of great options. I’m happy to be the mascot for such a safety-focused corporation!