Tornadoes most commonly occur during spring, as the weather changes in the fall, after hurricanes, and when summer storms hit. Although tornadoes tend to strike certain parts of Canada more commonly, there is no place in the country that is immune to this natural calamity. It is not difficult to see the importance of learning and carrying out additional preparedness in case a tornado strikes.
- Reinforce your house
Tornado preparedness starts long before the calamity strikes. Make sure your house is structurally sound and properly reinforced. Have building experts check your house regularly to identify possible structural problems. Invest on additional reinforcements for your roof, doors, walls, and concrete foundation.
- Designate a safe area or room in your house.
Tornadoes pack high winds and severe rains that can damage your home. Create a safe area where you can “duck and cover.” As a general rule, you should pick an area that is located near the center of the house and at the ground level or the lowest floor. Consider the following areas: basement, walk-in closet, and kitchen. Retrofit the place by removing the sheetrock from ceiling and walls, and adding extra wall studs held in place using straps, screws, and angle brackets. Replace the sheetrock with 3/4” marine plywood using screws and structural adhesives.
- Know the “safe points” in your workplace.
When tornado strikes while you’re at work, make sure you know the emergency routes and designated safe points. Coordinate with your immediate supervisor and attend emergency drills.
- Be updated with emergency warnings.
Time is an important asset when preparing for disasters. You should be up-to-date with recent developments in weather conditions. You don’t have to wait for the community alert sirens, invest in owning a weather alert radio, especially if you live in a tornado-prone area. Stay tuned with your weather channel or local authorities for any announcements.
- Regular tornado drills.
Develop and practice emergency reactions in case of tornado. Have your family practice how to safely get into the safe area and how to use emergency kit and supplies.
- Communicate with your family and the emergency rescue.
In the event of a tornado, make sure you have an effective communication with your family and relief services. Communication is vital especially if your house gets damaged or someone sustains injury. Aside from your house phone and mobile phone, have backup options such as a hand-held two-way radio. Signaling devices such as whistle or air-horn are also helpful.
- Stock adequate resources.
In a disaster, you should have enough supplies of water, food and medicine. It may take days or weeks before relief services become available so stock enough supply for at least one week. Keep your supplies in a secured container and in a place that is easily accessible.
These recommendations can help you prepare in case a tornado strikes. However, you should also know how to manage common medical emergencies and first aid situations if ever they happen. It is suggested that every family learn basic first aid training.