Do you know what to do during tornado season?
Last night was family date night, which included a trip to the bookstore and dinner. As we were in the bookstore looking around all of a sudden we heard it start to rain hard! It poured for a good five minutes. When the rain stopped (because you don’t run to the car in a Texas Rainstorm unless you have too) we checked out and headed outside. As we walked outside it was muggy and 80 degrees. It was gross, to say the least.
We got in the car and drove to dinner. The restaurant seemed a little crowded, so we dropped Ty off at the door to put our name down. The kids and I parked the car and started to get out. It was noticeably at least 10 degrees cooler than it was 10 minutes ago. The restaurant was an hour wait, so we decided to go someplace else.
Upon arriving at the next restaurant we got out. It had dropped another 10 degrees in a matter of 5 minutes. My husband looked up and then he saw the clouds spinning above us.
Yes! It was the start of a Tornado!
We went into the restaurant to eat dinner. As soon as we sat down the tornado alarms started going off throughout the town and then the lights started flickering… Outside it sounded like a train was right there.
Welcome to Tornado Season!
Our family stayed cam and ate dinner, but many families were panicked! So why did we stay calm and others panicked?
Because we had taught our Kids what to look for and how to be prepared for Tornadoes!
So What Do You Do to Teach Your Kids about Tornados and
How Do You Keep Your Family Safe?
Preparing Ahead of Time
There are things that you can do to prepare for a tornado before you are in danger. In fact, these things you need to do to help keep your family safe!
As my Family learned in 2015, in Texas with the Rowlett Tornado, you can prepare, but this doesn’t 100% protect you. Being Prepared helps you stay calm and prepare for the worst.
Develop a Plan
Tornadoes can be scary. In a moments notice a funnel can begin and does not give your family time to prepare. This is why you need to have a plan already in place so you can act in a moment’s notice.
Your plan should lay out exactly what each member of the family should do as soon as the tornado alarms go off. It needs to include where each member of the family will go. Develop a plan for each member of the family to have a buddy to get where they need to go.
Find A Shelter Within Your Home
When finding a tornado shelter you want it to be in the center of your home. You don’t want it to include any outside walls or windows. We use the pantry because it is the very center of our house. We all don’t fit there, so there is one closet and few sturdy nooks we also use.
Make a Checklist
Make a checklist of the things you Need to Grab on the way to your shelter. This way in the heat of the moment you don’t forget things like cell phone chargers, cash, purse, shoes for each member of the family, important documents, etc.
Talking about tornado safety with the kids ahead of time is a key to success so that they are not as scared when the alarms go off.
Have 72-Hour Kits Ready
Have 72-hour kits ready to go to your shelter with you. A 72-hour kit is a kit that you have ready and available with supplies and food for each member of your family. This includes flashlights, batteries, diapers, medication, etc. Anything each member of the family needs to survive for three days. Backpacks work great to hold your supplies. These kits will go into your shelter with you that way if you get stuck in your shelter you have the things you need. If you will also take these kits with you should you need to evacuate to a different shelter.
Have the Car Ready
If you are like me, there are many times where you are low on gas. During tornado season always have at least a half a tank of gas in case you need to drive somewhere quickly without stopping. As well as gas in the tank, have first aid kit ready in the car.
Practice Tornado Drills With the Kids
I remember the Rowlett tornado. It was my first tornado experience. I was so unprepared. I was running around trying to get everything ready and make sure everyone was where they needed to be.
It is important to practice tornado drills with the kids in a variety of situations. Know the school’s tornado plan. Talk about what to do if your kids are at a friend’s house when the tornado strikes. What will your kids do if you are running errands and they are at home? Where will you go if you are not home? All these things need to be talked about.
Practice the plan you put in place. Pretend the tornado alarm is going off when the kids least expect it. How do they react? Do they remember to grab their buddy? Did you remember the 72-hour kits? How long did it take each member of the family to get there? Make sure everyone can get to the shelter quickly!
Watch the Skies
When the weather is changing be aware of the skies. Be aware if the clouds are starting to turn. Don’t wait for you to really know that a tornado is here. Start to recognize what bad weather looks like. When the skies start to change, start watching for weather alerts on your phone, on the TV or listening for them on the radio. Keep your cell phones with you and be sure to charge them.
Once the Alarm Sounds
When the alarm sounds go to your pre-designated tornado shelter quickly!
Take the Warning Seriously
The first time we ever were under tornado warnings my husband went outside with one of our kids and watched the storm brewing for a bit. I do not recommend this! Do not ignore the warnings they are there for a reason. Get to your shelter quickly!
Once in your shelter listen through your phones or weather radio for news as to what is happening. Be sure to have a weather radio just in case you lose power or internet connection. Once you are in your shelter, be sure to let your family know that you are out of the storm and safe in your shelter. Continue to keep in contact with them throughout the storm.
Keep flashlights in your shelter that way if the power goes out you will be able to see. We keep flashlights in each bedroom and several in our tornado shelter. You want to be prepared in case you need to be in your shelter without power for several days.
It is our job as parents to stay calm. This is a scary time for you, but especially for your kids. Sing songs with them, play games. Help them not think about what is happening. The calmer you are the calmer they will be.
After the Storm
Have a plan as to what you will do after the storm hits. This can be an emotional time for your family depending on the damage that has just occurred. It is highly possible that communication will be at a minimum because of downed telephone poles. There will probably lots of traffic trying to get people where they are trying to go. Debris and rubble could be all over the roads.
If your kids are not with you when the storm hits, it is important that they know that you will get them as soon as you can.
They will know this because you would have already have talked about it in preparing for the storm.
If you are stuck because of the storm, rest easy that rescue crews are on their way to help you! Remind the kids that help is coming. So sit tight and wait for them. Don’t try to get it out if you can’t.
Check for Injuries
Check with each member of the family and make sure they are okay. Does anyone need medical attention? Handle small wounds with your first aid kit. Other injuries might need medical attention.
When Leaving Your Shelter
When leaving your shelter, be careful! There can be debris all around you. Your home’s structure might not be sound any longer. There could be loose boards, broken glass, and nails. Safely get your family out.
Tornadoes can be scary. You can never be too prepared for the storm. Practice your plan with the kids a few times a year. Take each warning seriously and stay safe!
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