By Patrick Ramsay
There’s no place like home, so when you hear the unlikely weather warning for tornadoes in your area, it’s natural to worry. While it doesn’t seem to be an ever-present risk for most of California, no state is safe from tornadoes. Most recently, a tornado touched down in Denair, California, and caused structural damage to multiple buildings. Not much can be done to prevent damage to your home before a tornado, but preventing further damage and injury after it has occurred is in your hands. Recovering after a tornado requires much more than clicking heels together. A large portion of injuries from tornadoes actually take place when people begin to clean up and recover from the wreckage. So, what can you do to ensure your safety and ease your recovery after a tornado?
Photo by David Carrillo
Proceed with caution. Being aware of any structural and electrical damage could save your life and your home from any further harm. If you believe your home has been damaged, turn off electrical power, natural gas and propane tanks as a precaution. This allows you to assess the damage to your home while avoiding the possibility of fires, electrocution, and explosions. Avoid using the lights in your house until you’re sure your electrical power hasn’t been damaged. Avoid downed power lines and objects in nearby puddles of water as there may be live wires in the area. Report downed power lines to your local authorities and the utility company.
Dress for the part. Wear sturdy boots, pants, long sleeves, and gloves while you’re working through the wreckage. Tornadoes leave a trail of dangerous debris in their wake. Be weary of broken glass, exposed nails, and spilled chemicals and flammables. Use battery-powered lanterns and flashlights rather than candles to avoid further risk of fire.
Be prepared. The Federal Emergency Management Agency suggests building a Safe Room for your home to provide near-absolute protection for you and your family in the event of a tornado. While some people may have the option of building a Safe Room, not all are so lucky. There are plenty of precautions that can be taken and preparations that can be made to aid in your recovery from a tornado. Building an emergency disaster supplies kit with 72-hours worth of food, water, and supplies could mean the difference between life and death. Because you can’t be certain where you’ll be when a tornado touches down, it’s wise to have a disaster supplies kit at home, work, and in your vehicle.
Tornadoes are a ruthless force of nature. With winds up to 300 miles per hour, it’s vital prepare yourself with the knowledge today to ensure safety for you and your property tomorrow.