APHA Get Ready tornado preparedness

APHA’s Get Ready initiative offers tornado preparedness tips. Photo by APHA

The tornado that swept through the Oklahoma City area on Monday killed at least 24 people and injured 240 more. Today, the National Weather Service said that more severe weather is expected in the U.S. over the next 24 hours, including the possibility of more tornadoes.

However, you can help protect your families and communities from harm during, and after, a tornado.

APHA’s Get Ready campaign offers tornado preparedness tips, which start with knowing the signs and planning appropriately, including:

  • using a battery-operated radio to listen to weather updates and instructions from local officials;
  • knowing the tornado plans for your children’s schools;
  • picking a room where household members and pets can stay safe, such as a basement or underground shelter;
  • putting together an emergency stockpile kit;
  • storing important documents or copies of documents in a fire and waterproof safe; and
  • asking a neighbor in advance for assistance, including giving him or her a spare key.

Get Ready suggests that you stay away from windows during a tornado — and if you’re caught outside, either walking to a nearby building, driving to the nearest shelter or lying in a low section of land if there are no other alternatives.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers emergency preparedness and response tips for after a tornado strikes. Notably, protecting the mental well-being of children is encouraged by telling them what has happened, reassuring that the situation will improve and including them in cleanup activities.

If you have a mobile phone, the American Red Cross offers a tornado warning and alert app that offers up-to-the-minute updates and resources. It can be downloaded directly from iTunes or Google Play app stores.

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