are natureís most violent storms. Spawned from powerful thunderstorms,
tornadoes can cause fatalities and devastate a neighborhood in seconds. Do you
know what to do during a Tornado? With so many tornadoes being spawned in 2011
we feel that its a never a bad thing to refresh our knowledge of TORNADO
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Where will your family be
when disaster strikes?
They could be anywhere - at work, at
school, in the car or at home. How will you find each other? Will you know if
your children are safe? Disaster can strike quickly and without warning. It can
force you to evacuate your neighborhood or confine you to your home. What would
you do if basic services - water, gas, electricity or telephones were cut off?
If an earthquake, hurricane, winter storm, terrorist attack or other disaster
strikes your community, you might not have access to food, water and electricity
for days or even weeks. Local officials and relief workers will eventually be on
the scene but they cannot reach everyone right away. Families can and do cope
with disaster by preparing in advance and working together as a team. By taking
some time now to prepare in advance, you can provide for your entire family.
The Red Cross recommends that you prepare separate disaster kits for your home,
for your car, at work, etc. that meets your needs for a least 3 days. Store
these supplies in sturdy easy to carry containers such as a backpack, duffle bag
or covered 5 gallon buckets.
Your kits should include:
- 3 day supply of food that won't spoil
- 3 day supply of water (one gallon per person
- One change of clothing/footwear per person
- One blanket or sleeping bag per person
- A first aid kit that includes your family's
- Emergency tools including a battery powered
radio, flashlight and extra batteries.
- Sanitation supplies
- Extra set of car keys, cash, credit cards or
- Special items for infant, elderly or disabled
- Customize your kit to meet your needs
Facts About Water
Civilization grew up around water, it was the source of life and still is today.
Deserts bloom when water is made available and areas die when water is limited.
Here in the United States water is taken for granted in cities and towns.
Probably only those who live in farming areas understand the importance of a
quality water supply. We turn on the faucet and there it is. Gallon after gallon
of clean water to be used or wasted as we feel like.
The importance of water is brought home when there is a disaster. When Mother
Nature decides to tear up the land, often one of those things she disrupts is
the water supply. If not directly, as with earthquakes, it may be indirectly by
cutting off electricity that powers pumping stations on water mains or up to the
99th floor of that skyscraper. Normally this is a problem that is localized and
others soon rush in to provide the water that is needed or repairs are rapidly
done to get the water flowing again.
One problem that is often faced is the quality of the water supply in areas that
are dependent on shallower wells that get low and pick up harmful minerals that
cannot be readily removed by conventional water systems. In some areas, it is
not unusual for the water companies to issue warnings that children under two
and older persons should refrain from using municipal water due to the
Also, the water from area to area is different. Some is hard, some soft, some
has high mineral content. In rural areas we have rust and sometimes dirt in
water that comes from wells. In cities there are chemicals that are added to
kill bacteria or retard its growth. Some studies have linked these chemicals
with disease, that are, or could be, harmful to health. Even if they are not,
many persons prefer not to ingest them.
Think About Water
So water, "the bringer of life", while ignored when plentiful and of
good quality, is a continuing important part of our daily life and can be the
most important thing in the world to us in an emergency. Therefore, it would
seem sensible to spend some time and some money on improving your everyday
supply and perhaps putting some away for emergency. The following may help you
in your choices:
Science tell us that we can get by with about a pint of water a day. While this
may be true if you could spend the whole emergency at home in bed, experience
such as the 1948 siege of Jerusalem, has shown that two gallons a day is a more
realistic minimum. Therefore, we suggest you concentrate on providing an
absolute minimum water supply of one week (15 gallons) per person. A more
appropriate amount would be a 30 day (60 gallons) per person supply, and it
would be hard to see how you could store too much water. You can do this best in
clean 5, 22, or 55 gallon food grade plastic containers, each with an airtight
lid. Be sure to use only FOOD GRADE CONTAINERS, soda syrup or juice concentrate
barrels are very economical. Get barrels have been used just one time. We remind
you that all water that is used for drinking, cooking, or in any way consumed,
that includes brushing your teeth, should be purified first.
Some errors that are often repeated about water preparedness are that in case of
any emergency, "immediately fill bathtubs and sinks with water." Now,
this may be valid if you have the proper equipment to treat and purify water, it
is counter-productive if you do not. Often in a disaster such as earthquakes,
tornadoes, etc., the water mains are ruptured and the water is contaminated.
Therefore, if you open a faucet in your home, you force this contamination into
your domestic system and ruin the 40 to 50 gallons of good clean water that is
always available. The best course is to immediately turn off the water at the
meter and turn it back on only after you are assured that the mains are secure.
Another misconception is to consider your swimming pool as anything but a
secondary source. Depending on it as a primary supply could be disastrous. Just
as with water mains, swimming pools are prone to rupture. Before you say
"but my pool is above ground," be warned that such pools also have
been damaged by major quakes and storms.
Water Storage and Purification
1) QUANITITY OF WATER NEEDED:
2) METHODS OF WATER STORAGE:
- Science says that we need a minimum of 1 pint per day to live for more
than four or five days.
- Recent events have showed that two gallons per person per day is more
realistic for drinking, cooking and partial bathing.
- Well known people in the field of survival recommend 15 gallons per person
per day to be stored as a minimum. Fifty gallons is considered ample supply
3) METHODS OF WATER PURIFICATION:
- The best containers are 5 gallon containers or larger plastic barrels, (30
or 55 gallon sizes)
- Smaller containers can be: Clean empty glass jugs (may break during
earthquakes), empty Clorox bottles, (leave a few drops of Clorox in the
bottle), clean 2 liter soda bottles.
- WARNING! NEVER USE A CONTAINER FOR WATER OR FOOD STORAGE THAT HAS EVER
CONTAINED ANY TOXIC SUBSTANCE.
4) METHODS OF WATER PRESERVATION:
- Boil water vigorously for 10 minutes.
- Use water purifying tablets according to the directions on the container.
- Add 12 drops of Tincture of iodine (see also Medical Inventory List) per
gallon, mix and let stand for 30 minutes.
- Add 8 drops of household laundry bleach per gallon, mix and let stand for
5) EMERGENCY WATER SOURCES:
- Add 1/2 to 1 tablespoon of household bleach, such as Clorox, to each 5
gallon bucket. (almost all bleaches, no matter what brand, have 5 1/2%
Sodium Hypoclorite, which is the purification chemical.)
- Add 1/2 cup of bleach to a 55 gallon barrel. Add 1/3 cup of bleach to a 30
gallon barrel. (Putting more than the recommended amount will not injure the
- Add 8 to 12 drops of tincture of iodine to a water bed mattress. The
tincture is usually about 2 or 3%. (Do not use bleach in a water bed
mattress as it will stiffen and loosen the plastic seams eventually allowing
a leak to develop.)
6) HANDY REFERENCE GUIDE FOR PURIFYING
- Water heaters, toilet tanks*, water pipes. Immediately upon the event of
an emergency, turn off the water valve nearest the street (This is assuming
that the main water source is damaged). Then by opening a tap with low
elevation in your home such as the bathtub or outside yard tap, you may be
able to siphon many gallons for your survival. Of course, you will have to
open a tap with higher elevation to allow air to enter the pipes and allow
the siphon to operate at the lower elevation.
- Swimming pools are a large source of water, but will have the taste of
chlorine. Therefore, a mechanical water purifier would be most helpful. Just
be certain that in the event of an earthquake, no toxic substance has been
knocked into the pool or allowed to drain the into the pool.
- Canned goods are packed in water or juices and these will aid in your
- Ice in the refrigerator or freezer. The ice which is formed in
non-frostless refrigerators and freezers can be melted and used.
* Toilets that have added a bluing agent to the
water tank cannot be used for drinking or cooking unless it is put through a
We hope that we have opened your eyes as to the importance
Hereís what you can do to prepare for an
1) Prepare a home Earthquake plan:
2) Prepare a disaster supplies kit for
home and car:
- Choose a safe place in every room - under a sturdy table or desk or
against an inside wall where nothing can fall on you.
- Practice DROP, COVER, AND HOLD
ON at least twice a year. Drop under a sturdy desk or table, hold on,
and protect your eyes by pressing your face against your arm. If thereís
no table or desk nearby, sit on the floor against an interior wall away from
windows, bookcases, or tall furniture that could fall on you. Teach children
-- in case of an earthquake, DROP, COVER, AND HOLD ON!
- Choose an out-of-town family contact
- Eliminate hazards, including:
- Bolting bookcases, china cabinets, and other tall furniture to wall
studsInstalling strong latches on cupboards
- Strapping the water heater to wall studs
- Take a first aid class from your local Red Cross chapter. Keep your
earthquake training current.
- Get training in how to use a fire extinguisher from your local fire
- Inform babysitters and caregivers of your plan.
3) Know what to do when the shaking
- Assemble disaster supplies including: Battery-powered radio, flashlight,
and plenty of extra batteries
- At least three gallons of water per person, preferably more
- Canned food and can opener
- First aid kit
- Essential medications
- Tools and instructions to shut off utilities
- Sturdy shoes and work gloves, blankets
- Sanitation supplies
- Fire extinguisher
- Keep essentials, such as a flashlight and sturdy shoes, by your bedside.
4) Identify what to do after the shaking
- DROP, COVER, AND HOLD ON!
:Move only a few steps to a nearby safe place. Stay indoors until the
shaking stops and youíre sure itís safe to exit. Stay away from windows.
In a high-rise building, expect the fire alarms and sprinklers to go off
during a quake.
- If you are in bed, hold on and stay there, protecting your head with a
- If you are outdoors, find a clear spot away from buildings, trees, and
power lines. Drop to the ground.
- If you are in a car, slow down and drive to a clear place (as described
above). Stay in the car until the shaking stops.
5) Final things to do before an
- Check yourself for injuries. Protect yourself from further danger by
putting on long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, sturdy shoes, and work gloves.
- Check others for injuries. Give first aid for serious injuries.
- Look for and extinguish small fires. Eliminate fire hazards. Turn off the
gas if you smell gas or think itís leaking (remember, only a professional
should turn it back on).
- Listen to the radio for instructions.
- Expect aftershocks. Each time you feel one, DROP,
COVER, AND HOLD ON!
- Inspect home for damage. Get everyone out if your home is unsafe.
- Use the telephone only to report life-threatening emergencies.
- Pick one or more Ďsafe placesí in each room of your home. Practice DROP,
COVER, AND HOLD ON in each place.
- Choose an out-of-town relative or friend to be a family contact person.
- Put together disaster supplies kits and show family members where they are
- Teach household members how to turn off utilities.
- Install strong latches or bolts on cabinets.
- Secure water heater to wall studs with two steel straps.
- Bolt bookcases, china cabinet, and tall furniture to wall studs.
- Secure items that might fall (TV, books, computers, etc.).
Hereís what you can do to prepare for a
1) Make your home fire safe:
2) Plan your escape routes:
- Smoke detectors save lives. Install a battery-powered smoke detector
outside each sleeping area and on each additional level of your home. Use
the test button to check each smoke detector once a month. When necessary,
replace batteries immediately. Replace batteries at least once a year.
- Have a working fire extinguisher in the kitchen. Get training from the
fire department in how to use it. Also include in the kit written
instructions on how to turn off your home's utilities.
- Conduct periodic fire drills, so everyone remembers what to do when there
is a fire.
3) Escape safely:
- Determine at least two ways to escape from every room of your home. If you
must use an escape ladder, be sure everyone knows how to use it.
- Select a location outside your home where everyone would meet after
- Practice your escape plan at least twice a year. Once you are out, stay
4) Plan and get ready:
- If you see smoke in your first escape route, use your second way out.
- If you must exit through smoke, crawl low under the smoke to escape.
- If you are escaping through a closed door, feel the door before opening
it. If it is hot, use your second way out.
- If smoke, heat, or flames block your exit routes, stay in the room with
the door closed. Signal for help using a bright-colored cloth at the window.
- If there is a telephone in the room, call the fire department and tell
them where you are.
- Fire is one of the most common disasters. Fire causes more deaths than any
other type of disaster.
- But fire doesn't have to be deadly if you have early warning from a smoke
detector and everyone in your family knows how to escape calmly. Please be
serious about the responsibility for planning for and practicing what to do
in case of a fire.
- Put together disaster supplies kits and show family members where they are
Are you ready for a Flood or Flash Flood?
1) Know what to expect:
2) Flash floods can take only a few
minutes to a few hours to develop:
- Know your area's flood risk - if unsure, call your local Red Cross
- If it has been raining hard for several hours, or steadily raining for
several days, be alert to the possibility of a flood.
- Listen to local radio or TV stations for flood information.
- Floods can take several hours to days to develop.
3) Assemble a Flood Safety Kit containing:
- A flood WATCH means a flood is possible in your area.
- A flood WARNING means flooding is already occurring or will occur soon in
4) When a flood WATCH is issued:
- First aid kit, Canned food and can opener, Bottled water, Blankets, Rubber
boots and rubber gloves, Battery-powered radio, flashlight and extra
batteries. Identify where you could go if told to evacuate.
- Choose several places...a friend's home in another town, a motel, or a
5) When a flood WARNING is issued:
- Move your furniture and valuables to higher floors of your home.
- Fill your car's gas tank, in case an evacuation notice is issued.
6) Still, you can take steps to prepare
for these types of emergencies:
- Listen to local radio and TV stations for information and advice.
- If told to evacuate, do so as soon as possible.
- Be alert to signs of flash flooding and be ready to evacuate on a moment's
- Or if you think it has already started, evacuate immediately.
- You may have only seconds to escape.
- Act quickly! Move to higher ground away from rivers, streams, creeks, and
- Do not drive around barricades...they are there for your safety. If your
car stalls in rapidly rising waters, abandon it immediately and climb to
- Prolonged rainfall over several days can cause a river or stream to
overflow and flood the surrounding area. A flash flood from a broken dam or
levee or after intense rainfall of one inch (or more) per hour often catches
- Regardless, the rule for being safe is simple: head for the high ground
and stay away from the water. Even a shallow depth of fast-moving flood
water produces more force than most people imagine. The most dangerous thing
you can do is to try walking, swimming or driving through such swift water.
- Have various members of the family do each of the items on the checklist
below. Then hold a family meeting to discuss and finalize your Home Flood
- Decide where your family would go in case you must evacuate. Clear your
plan with the relatives or friends you plan to stay with - or go to a Red
Cross shelter. Also, get an extra map and mark two alternate ways to reach
that destination. Add the map to your Flood Safety Kit
Are you ready for a Tornado?
1) Prepare a home Tornado plan:
2) Assemble a Tornado Safety Kit
- Pick a place where family members could gather if a tornado is headed your
way. It could be your basement or, if there is no basement, a center
hallway, bathroom, or closet on the lowest floor. Keep this place
- If you are in a high-rise building, you may not have enough time to go to
the lowest floor.Pick a place in a hallway in the center of the building.
- Conduct periodic tornado drills, so everyone remembers what to do when a
tornado is approaching.
- Stay tuned for storm warnings
- Listen to your local radio and TV stations for updated storm information
3) Know what a tornado WATCH and WARNING
- First aid kit and essential medication
- Battery-powered radio, flashlight, and extra batteries
- Canned food and can opener
- Bottled water
- Sturdy shoes and work gloves, blankets
- Also include in the kit written instructions on how to turn off your
4) When a tornado WATCH is issued:
- A tornado WATCH means a tornado is possible in your area.
- A tornado WARNING means a tornado has been sighted and may be headed for
5) When a tornado WARNING is issued:
- Listen to local radio and TV stations for further updates.
- Be alert to changing weather conditions.
- Blowing debris or the sound of an approaching tornado may alert you.
- Many people say it sounds like a freight train.
6) Plan and get ready:
- Go to safety immediately.
- If you are inside, go to the safe place you picked to protect yourself
from glass and other flying objects.
- The tornado may be approaching your area.
- If you are outside, hurry to the basement of a nearby sturdy building or
lie flat in a ditch or low-lying area.
- If you are in a car or mobile home, get out immediately and head for
safety (as above).
- After the tornado passes: Watch out for fallen power lines and do not
venture into the damaged area.
- Listen to the radio for information and instructions.
- Use a flashlight to inspect your home for damage (avoid using candles or
- Forget The Wizard of Oz notion that "twisters" only happen in
Kansas. Tornadoes have been reported in every state. And while they
generally occur during spring and summer, they can happen anytime during the
year. With winds swirling at 200 miles an hour or more, a tornado can
destroy just about anything in its path., Generally, there are weather signs
and warnings that will alert you to take precautions. Be prepared by having
various family members do each of the items on the checklist below. Then get
together to discuss and finalize your Home Tornado Plan.
Are you ready for a Thunderstorm?
1) Before lightning strikes:
2) When a Storm approaches:
- Keep an eye on the sky. Look for darkening skies, flushes of light, or
- Listen for the sound of thunder.
- If you can hear thunder, you are close enough to the storm to be struck by
- Go to safe shelter immediately! Listen to NOAA Weather Radio, commercial
radio, or television for the latest weather forecasts.
3) If caught outside:
- Find shelter in a building or car.
- Keep car windows closed and avoid convertibles.
- Telephone lines and metal pipes can conduct electricity.
- Unplug appliances.
- Avoid using the telephone or any electrical appliances.
- Avoid taking a bath or shower, or running water for any other purpose.
- ATurn off the air conditioner.Power surges from lightning can overload the
compressor, resulting in a costly repair job!
- Draw blinds and shades over windows. If windows break due to objects blown
by the wind, the shades will prevent glass from shattering into your home.
4) Protecting yourself outside:
- If you are in the woods, take shelter under the shorter trees.
- If you are boating or swimming, get to land and find shelter immediately!
5) If someone is struck by lightning:
- Go to a low-lying, open place away from trees, poles, or metal objects.
- Make sure the place you pick is not subject to flooding.
- Be a very small target
- Squat low to the ground.
- Place your hands on your knees with your head between them. Make yourself
the smallest target possible.
- Do not lie flat on the ground-this will make you a larger target! After
the Storm passes
6) Learn first aid and CPR:
- People struck by lightning carry no electrical charge and can be handled
- Call for help.
- Get someone to dial 9-1-1 or your local Emergency Medical Services (EMS)
- The injured person has received an electrical shock and may be burned,
both where they were struck and where the electricity left their body.
- Check for burns in both places.
- Give first aid.
- If breathing has stopped, begin rescue breathing.
- If the heart has stopped beating, a trained person should give CPR.
7) Plan and get ready:
- Take a Red Cross first aid and CPR course.
- A thunderstorm is always accompanied by lightning.
- Thunderstorms are intense local storms averaging 20 miles across and
reaching as high as 10 miles.
- Thunderstorms occur in all 50 states and all U.S. territories.
- Show children how to practice squatting low to the ground to be the
smallest target possible for lightning in case they get caught outside in a
thunderstorm. Show them how to place their hands on their knees with their
head between their knees.
- Assemble a Disaster Supplies Kit in a clearly labeled, easy-to-grab
- Pick a safe place in your home where family members can gather during a
thunderstorm. This should be a place where there are no windows, skylights,
or glass doors.
- Pick a safe place to be in your home in case of a tornado. The safe place
you picked for a thunderstorm may not be the safest place to be during a
tornado. If you hear a loud roar or hear a tornado warning, you need to go
to the lowest floor of your home into a room where there are no windows or
glass doors. (If you have a basement, make that your safe place to be for a
Are you prepared for a Winter Storm?
1) Here's what you can do to prepare for a Winter
2) Assemble a disaster supplies kit
- Be sure you have properly operating smoke detectors and fire
- Have extra blankets on hand.
- Ensure that each member of your household has a warm coat, gloves, or
mittens, hat, and water-resistant boots.
3) Know what winter storm WATCHES and
- First aid kit and essential medications
- Battery-powered NOAA Weather Radio and portable radio, flashlight, and
- Canned food and non-electric can opener
- Bottled water
- Have your car winterized before winter storm season.
- Assemble a disaster supplies kit for your car (Include blankets, extra
sets of dry clothing, a shovel, sand, tire chains, jumper cables, a first
aid kit, a flashlight with extra batteries, and a brightly colored cloth to
tie to the antenna).
- Extra blankets.
4) When a winter storm WATCH is issued::
- A winter storm WATCH means a winter storm is possible in your area.
- A winter storm WARNING means a winter storm is headed for your area.
- A blizzard WARNING means strong winds, blind wind-driven snow, and
dangerous wind chill are expected.
5) When a winter storm WARNING is issued:
- Listen to NOAA Weather Radio, local radio and TV stations, or cable TV
such as The Weather Channel for further updates. Be alert to changing
weather conditions. Avoid unnecessary travel.
6) Avoid traveling by car in a storm, but
if you must:
- Stay indoors during the storm.
- If you must go outside, several layers of lightweight clothing will keep
you warmer than a single heavy coat.
- Gloves (or mittens) and a hat will prevent loss of body heat.
- Cover your mouth to protect your lungs.
- Understand the hazards of wind chill, which combines the cooling effect of
wind and cold temperatures on exposed skin. As the wind increases, heat is
carried away from a person's body at an accelerated rate, driving down the
body temperature. Walk carefullyon snowy, icy sidewalks. After the storm, if
you shovel snow, be extremely careful. It is physically strenuous work, so
take frequentbreaks, Avoid overexertion.
7) If you do get stuck::
- Have emergency supplies in the trunk (Include blankets, extra sets of dry
clothing, a shovel, sand, tire chains, jumper cables, a first aid kit, a
flashlight with extra batteries, and a brightly colored cloth to tie to the
- Keep you car's gas tank full for emergency use and to keep the fuel line
- Let someone know your destination, your route, and when you expect to
- If your car gets stuck along the way, help can be sent along your
8) Plan and get ready:
- Stay with your car. Do not try to walk to safety.
- Tie a brightly colored cloth (preferably red) to the antenna for rescuers
- Start the car and use the heater for about 10 minutes every hour.
- Keep the exhaust pipe clear so fumes won't back up into the car.
- Leave the overhead light on when the engine is running so that you can be
- As you sit, keep moving your arms and legs to keep blood circulating and
to stay warm.
- Keep one window away from the blowing wind slightly open to let in air.
- Winter storms bring ice, snow, cold temperatures, and often dangerous
driving conditions. Even small amounts of snow and ice can cause severe
problems for southern states where winter storms are infrequent. Be prepared
by creating your own emergency kit and keeping it in your vehicle.