Tornadoes and thunderstorms continued their fury on middle America on Tuesday, killing six people in Oklahoma and Kansas, barely two days after the deadliest Joplin tornado that killed 116 people and turned a small Missouri town into a disaster zone.
Here are some safety tips when a tornado hits:
WHERE TO TAKE SHELTER?
In a home The basement offers the greatest safety. Seek shelter under sturdy furniture. In homes without basements, take cover in the center part of the house, on the lowest floor, in a small room such as a closet or bathroom, or under sturdy furniture. Keep away from windows.
In a mobile home: The home should be evacuated, and shelter should be taken in a pre-arranged substantial shelter. If there is no shelter nearby, leave the trailer and lie flat in a ditch or ravine. Protect your head by placing your arms over it. Do not take shelter under your home.
At Work or at School: Follow advanced plans to move to interior hallways or small rooms on the lowest floor. Avoid areas with glass and wide, free span roofs. (Schools, factories, and office buildings should designate someone to look out for severe weather and initiate an alarm.)
In open country: Lie in a gully, ditch, or low spot in the ground and hold onto something on the ground if possible. Do not seek shelter in damaged buildings, they may collapse completely.
WATCH OUT FOR:
Dark, often greenish skies
Loud roar; similar to a freight train
Tornadoes can strike anytime, anywhere, and more than once.
Each tornado season review with your family the area in the home that is designated as the shelter, and practice having everyone in the family go there in response to a tornado threat.
Discuss with family members the difference between a .tornado watch, and a tornado warning.
Have a disaster supplies kit on hand.
The kit should include:
Battery Operated Radio
First Aid Kit
Develop an emergency communication:
Plan in case family members are separated from one another during a tornado (a real possibility during the day when adults are at work and children are at school), have a plan for getting back together.
AFTER THE TORNADO
Turn on radio or television to get the latest emergency information.
Stay out of damaged buildings. Return home only when authorities say it is safe.
Use the telephone only for emergency calls.
Clean up spilled medicines, bleaches or gasoline or other flammable liquids immediately.
Leave the building if you smell gas or chemical fumes.
Take pictures of the damage--both to the house and its contents--for insurance purposes.
STAY AWAY FROM SOME TORNADO MYTHS:
Myth: Areas near rivers, lakes and mountains are safe from tornadoes.
Fact: No place is safe from tornadoes.
Myth: The low pressure with a tornado causes buildings to .explode. as the tornado passes overhead.
Fact: Violent winds and debris slamming into buildings cause the most structural damage.
Myth: Windows should be opened before a tornado approaches to equalize pressure and minimize damage.
Fact: Opening windows allows damaging winds to enter the structure. Leave the windows alone; instead, immediately go to a safe place.
Myth: Tornadoes are always visible from a great distance.
Fact: Tornadoes can be hidden in heavy rainfall or nearby low hanging clouds.
If a Tornado Watch is issued to alert people to the possibility of tornado development in your area.
A Tornado Warning is issued when a tornado has actually been sighted or is indicated by radar.