This post explains what to do when there’s a tornado warning in Florida. Keep reading to know how to stay safe during this period.
Prepare a tornado emergency plan
After receiving a tornado warning, the first step is to prepare an emergency plan. Purchase fresh batteries and battery-operated devices to stay updated with the latest news. If possible, ensure you have an internet-enabled gadget to keep in touch with emergency teams and your loved ones. Remember to pack non-perishable food, clean water, and medication.
Listen to local radio or television weather forecasts
For you to stay safe before, during, and after a tornado, it’s imperative to pay close attention to the prevailing weather. Listen to your local radio or television weather forecasts to know when to expect the tornado. You can also visit the NOAA official website using your smartphone to keep taps with the changing weather conditions in your area.
Know the signs of a tornado
Receiving a tornado warning in Florida is not enough to keep you safe. You must know the signs of a tornado to protect yourself and your family.
Some of the signs of a tornado to watch out for include:
- A rotating, funnel-shaped cloud
- A loud roar or rumbling sound that sounds like a freight train
- An approaching cloud of debris
- Severe thunderstorms with frequent thunder or lightning
- A dark or green-colored sky
Keep alert to changing weather conditions
Tornadoes usually come in the spring and summer. Once you know the signs to watch out for, you should stay alert as a precaution. Keep up with the changing weather conditions to know when to take immediate action to protect yourself and your family.
Update your phone number to receive EAS alerts
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration operates an Emergency Alert System (EAS) that informs residents of tornado-prone areas of impending danger and changing weather conditions. Register your number with the NOAA or your local emergency office to receive real-time alerts from the Emergency Alert System.
Know where your emergency shelter is before the tornado
Let’s face it. There’s no guaranteed safe location during a tornado. However, emergency shelters are customized to provide utmost safety during natural catastrophes like tornadoes, hurricanes, and cyclones. Knowing where your local emergency shelters are before the tornado can go a long way to protect you and your family from harm.
Consider overlapping hazards
In this time of global concern (COVID-19), going to a public emergency shelter might put you at risk of contracting coronavirus or other illnesses. Fortunately, the CDC has various guidelines imperative for you to follow to protect yourself and your family during the pandemic. Ensure you get the necessary vaccines and observe all your local public health instructions to avert overlapping hazards.
Compile a list of important information
Preparing for a tornado requires you to compile a list of important information such as:
- Emergency telephone numbers
- Names and phone numbers of your neighbors
- Names and addresses of insurance agents
- Medical information
- Your license plate and identification numbers
- Bank telephone numbers
- Name and number of your landlord or property manager
Ensure you safely keep all your vital documents, including your social security card, driver’s license, insurance policies, bank statements, and medical records, in a file cabinet or fireproof box.
Avoid staying in a mobile home
If you live in a mobile home, you may have to vacate earlier than expected immediately after receiving a tornado warning. Mobile homes are weak and cannot survive the force of a tornado. Even with a strong tie-down system, the strong winds will inevitably blow your home away. Arrange to stay with friends or seek shelter elsewhere until it is safe to return home.
Practice going to a safe place in your home
If you live in a tornado-prone area like Florida, you must be ready for emergencies. Practice going to a safe place in your home before disaster strikes. The safest places to seek refuge in your home include your basement, closet, hallway, and bathroom. Avoid windows and, instead, get under a heavy table or workbench to protect yourself from potential harm.
Plan for your pets
If you have pets, you must consider their welfare as well. Pets are part of the family, and you must protect them from harm by including them in your emergency plan. Search for a pet-friendly emergency shelter or consider taking them to an animal shelter until the tornado is over.
Assemble a disaster supplies kit or emergency kit
Anything can happen during a tornado. For this reason, you should assemble a disaster supplies kit to safeguard you and your family from any eventualities.
Ideally, the kit should have the following items:
- Three-day supply of food
- Clean drinking water
- Blanket or sleeping bag
- Extra batteries
- First-aid box
Prepare for a long-term stay away from home
You never know how long the tornado will last. For this reason, you should prepare for a long-term stay away from home until the weather conditions calm down. You may opt to stay with friends or relatives in a different location or move to a safe shelter to protect yourself and your family.
Go to a safe shelter
After receiving a tornado warning, the quickest (failproof) way to protect yourself and your family from harm is to move to a safe shelter. On the advice of the meteorological department, the local authorities would set up several emergency shelters where you can seek refuge until it is safe to return home.
Tornadoes in Florida are almost inevitable, but you do not have to panic if you know what to do. Follow our tornado preparation tips above to keep yourself and your family safe from these adverse weather conditions.
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