The tornadoes that have ravaged the the plains and southeastern states this week serve as a grim reminder of Mother Nature’s wrath. Marshall County Emergency Management Agency Director Clyde Avery reminds families to develop an emergency plan. He says it should include contact numbers for work, school and a relative outside the area for everyone to check in. Also establish a designated meeting location. Avery says you should also review and practice your plan to make sure everyone knows what to do in case of an emergency.
He also recommends putting together an emergency preparedness kit. It should include flashlights, batteries, water, a first-aid kit, canned or dried food, prescription and over-the-counter medications, personal hygiene items, an extra pair of glasses, clothes and any items you may need for your pets.
Monitor the forecast, and be prepared to take shelter in a basement or interior room if a tornado watch is issued. Avery suggests residents of mobile or modular homes find a more sturdy structure. A watch means conditions are favorable for a tornado. A warning means one has been sited, and you should take shelter immediately. Take a portable radio along so you can monitor conditions. If a tornado hits, check for injuries and provide first aid if possible until trained emergency responders arrive. Their response time could be delayed if a major storm hits. Only call 9-1-1 if it is an emergency. Be mindful of debris that may contain sharp edges or nails, and watch out for downed power lines and broken gas lines. Wear long pants, a long-sleeved shirt and sturdy shoes when walking through storm-ravaged areas. Damaged buildings may shift under your weight and trap or injure you, so stay out of them. If you are away from home, wait until authorities say it is safe to return. If your home or other property sustains damage, take pictures if possible for your insurance company. It’s essential to cooperate with local authorities, as they will be implementing emergency measures to help keep you safe.