Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Tornado Safety

As we see from yesterday's tornadoes in Southern Virginia, and the many more that have passed through Maryland in the past several years, we are apparently getting more of these nasty storms than we used to. Global Warming? Maybe so.
At any rate, I was sent this by Arlington Alert today, I'm sure as a brush up for readiness in lieu of yesterday's Virginia tornadoes. So, I thought I would pass it on to you as a gentle and helpful reminder to those of you who have either never experienced a tornado, or think that they can't come here. They obviously can come here, or near to here. So refresh what you know or think you know and read this tip sheet below...
Tornado Safety Saves Lives
Know the difference between a tornado watch and warning:
Tornado watch: Tornadoes could develop in your area. Stay tuned to your local radio, TV or NOAA weather radio for further information and possible warnings. Be prepared to take cover if necessary.
Tornado warning: A tornado has been sighted or has been indicated by NWS Doppler radar. Warnings are given to individual counties or cities and include the tornado's location, direction and speed. If you are in or near its path, seek shelter immediately. A weather alert radio is an important part of being ready for an emergency. These radios will deliver weather watches and warnings from the local National Weather Service offices, 24 hours a day. They can be programmed to receive alerts for specific areas, and some have a tone alert that will activate a weather radio even if the audio is turned off.
If a Tornado is Headed Your Way: Shelter immediately in the nearest substantial building. Go to the building's basement. If there is no basement, move to a small, windowless interior room such as a closet, bathroom or interior hall on the lowest level of the building. Be sure to use the stairs to reach the lowest level, not an elevator. Protect your body from flying debris with a heavy blanket or pillows. Take precautions if you can not get to a substantial buildings.
If you are in:
Open buildings (shopping malls, gymnasiums or civic centers): Try to get into the restroom or an interior hallway. If there is no time to go anywhere else, protect yourself right where you are by getting up against something that will support or deflect falling debris. Protect your head by covering it with your arms.
Automobiles: Get out of your vehicle and try to find shelter inside a sturdy building. A culvert or ditch can provide shelter if a substantial building is not nearby — lie down flat and cover your head with your hands. Do not take shelter under a highway overpass or bridge, because debris could get blown under them or the structures themselves could be destroyed.
Outdoors: Try to find shelter immediately in the nearest substantial building. If no buildings are close, lie down flat in a ditch or depression and cover your head with your hands.
Mobile homes: Do not stay in mobile homes. You should leave immediately and seek shelter inside a nearby sturdy building or lie down in a ditch away from your home, covering your head with your hands. Mobile homes are extremely unsafe during tornadoes

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