Violent and sudden storms, tornadoes are extremely destructive acts of nature that can destroy entire neighborhoods in a matter of seconds. Formed from powerful thunderstorms, tornadoes appear as funnel-shaped clouds that rotate at intense speeds with whirlwinds that can approach nearly 300mph. While tornadoes can happen in just about every state they are more common in the mid-west, particularly Kansas, Nebraska and Oklahoma. Tornadoes can strike with little or no warning and can be hidden by low-lying clouds and rain. If you live in a region that experiences frequent tornadoes be prepared by having fully equipped disaster and first aid kits to help protect your home and family.
Because of the suddenness and violent nature of tornadoes it's not easy to predict when and where one will strike. Unlike hurricanes that meteorologists can predict days in advance so people can evacuate certain areas and board up homes, tornadoes spring up out of nowhere and before you know it the swirling force of destruction is bearing down on your home. Since you won't have much time to prepare when a tornado watch is in effect it is essential that you and your family have an emergency plan that will include a safe place to hide and supplies for dealing with the damage a tornado can cause.
The best place to hide from a tornado is underground in a basement or cellar. When seeking shelter from a tornado be sure to have a fire extinguisher and disaster kit in the shelter since it is likely to get damaged if left above ground. If you have time, try to turn off all utility switches and valves to prevent electrical fires and water main ruptures during the tornado. However, your primary concern should be getting your family to safety so be sure you have an emergency plan in place so everyone, including kids, know what to do if your area features a tornado siren warning.
After the storm passes the area may have widespread damage. Tornadoes are capable of uplifting houses, cars and small buildings and the destruction can be shocking when you emerge from a shelter. Be prepared for disturbing sights and consider surveying the damage before your children see it. Also be prepared for scattered debris that can include broken glass, jagged wood and metal and possibly fires. Surviving the actual tornado is only one part of the storm. The wreckage left behind can cause just as much harm as the twister itself.
When preparing for a tornado consider including the following items in any disaster or survival kit:
• Flashlights and portable radios with extra batteries
• Warm blankets and waterproof clothing including jackets and boots
• First aid kits with bandages, gauze rolls, anti-bacterial ointments and medications
• Shovels and axes to clear debris
• Eye drops or safety goggles and dust masks
• Non-perishable foods and purified drinking water
• Portable toilets
• Duct tape
• Camping tents
• Tools for shutting off valves
• Fire extinguisher
• Candles and waterproof matches
If you live in an area that is prone to tornadoes don't take chances. If the air suddenly becomes very still and dark clouds move in get you and your family to a designated shelter as soon as possible. Tornadoes give very little warning and if you hesitate it can have fatal consequences.
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