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Alive After Crisis

After a slow start in 2014 tornado season announced itself with a destructive thump in the Southeast United States this week. Deaths reported in Oklahoma were the first of the year, illustrating the need to be prepared for deadly twisters right now!

Growing up in Tornado Alley is no joke. Many hours are spent during the Spring and Summer hiding from storms in the safety of the basement. The transition radio sounding that constant warning, candle light the only choice.

Being dismissive of tornado warnings is a foolish practice that costs some their life. 97 tornadoes were reported across five states in the last 48 hours alone. At least 34 people are reported dead with more dangerous weather expected today.

Button your hatches Team AR-15 and get prepared for tornado season by following these 10 simple suggestions to prepare for tornado season:

10. Choose Your Safe Spot

For most of us this will mean the basement or storm shelter. What about homes without a basement you may ask? Find an interior room with a doorway. The structural integrity of your home is strongest inside that frame. Put as many walls between yourself and outside as you can. FEMA suggests basics methods for reinforcing your safe room.

Make sure every member of your home understands the tornado safety routine. Despite modern technology and the best efforts of meteorologists, tornados still strike suddenly, with little warning, like this week in Arkansas.

9. Prepare For 200 MPH Winds

Dangling branches, lawn ornaments and patio furniture become flying projectiles under the fury of an F-3 tornado. Take care of those dying limbs on your front yard tree BEFORE tornado season starts. High winds snap weak tree branches and send them crashing on to your car and home. If that sounds like an insurance commercial, it isn’t, reality strikes when you’re unprepared in Tornado Alley.

8. Pay Attention To Rapid Changes In Temperature

Everyone in the Midwest knows that a sudden drop in temperature, preceded by unusually high humidity means a storm is on the way. This time of year those storms bring death and destruction. Pay attention to your surroundings, notice ominous cloud patterns. Dark, greenish clouds often are indicators of a tornado system. Wall clouds can turn rotational in a blink.

General awareness can save your life. Don’t think it can’t happen to you because it can. If it seems like all the oxygen was just sucked out of the atmosphere, get inside, danger is approaching.

7. Listen For The Freight Train

Tornadoes have a distinctive sound many compare to a freight train. The roaring noise is caused when a tornado touches ground, destroying everything in its path. Tornado survivors have described the noise as a train conducted by howling demons. The noise, pea green sky and blackness are indicators that there is a tornado nearby. Getting everyone to shelter is your priority when you hear the roar.

6. Watch The News

There’s no excuse to be unprepared for damaging winds. News casts across Tornado Alley become dedicated, obsessed almost, with preserving public safety in the event of a storm. You can’t miss the radar and warning system blocking 2/3rds of your television show.

Local meteorologists are now equipped with the most sophisticated weather detection system man has ever created. The National Weather Service now monitors potentially damaging storms around the clock and remains in contact with news media.

It’s all an effort to protect the public by keeping them informed. Take storm warnings serious. Someday it may save your life.

5. Do NOT Open Windows

Contrary to the urban legend, opening windows during a tornado does nothing, to protect anything. You’re actually exposing yourself to INCREASED danger by opening windows during a tornado.

The thinking went that by opening the windows in your home, it would equalize the pressure in your house and protect it from damage. First of all, whoever thought that one up was a few sandwiches short of a full picnic basket. Since when are homes pressurized, with windows acting as cabin releases?

Ridiculous.

Keep your windows closed and go to the basement.

4. Don’t Try To Outrun A Tornado In Your Truck

News flash folks! Tornados move faster than your F-150. Unless your Bill Paxton and Helen Hunt don’t try running from a tornado by gunning it for safety. If you’re caught in a high traffic area or dead in the sights of a tornado; abandon your vehicle and immediately head for the lowest ground possible. No bridges or overpasses (both DECREASE chances of survival).

A ditch will do.

Keep your head low and covered as flying debris causes most tornado fatalities.

3. Don’t Touch Anything

Tornados leave trauma in their wake. Downed power lines, injuries, unstable structures all persist in the immediate aftermath of high winds. Be cautious of broken glass, sharp edges and electrical hazards. This is usually the best time to trust public safety officials and follow their instructions exactly.

2. Water Doesn’t Mean Safety

Tornados can and will pass over anything. That means mountains, big cities and bodies of water. None of you is stopping a tornado. In 1840 a tornado traveled directly down the Mississippi River killing hundreds of people in Natchez, Mississippi.

Lesson learned. Water brings you no safety from tornadoes.

1. Buy A Radio

Ahhh the transistor radio. Remember those anyone? They can be used to receive information via tiny electromagnetic waves. People use them during storms and the radio can save your life once the power goes out.

The NOAA (National Oceanic Atmosphere Association) Weather Radio broadcasts weather alerts 24 hours a day.

If transistor radio is too 1950 for you, smart phone users are in luck (as long as your battery is charged). NOAA has a highly efficient weather app available for both the iPhone and Android. I wouldn’t rely on your phone in a weather emergency. Go with old reliable, the radio, and keep those batteries fresh.

Our choice for transistor radio

Tornado season announced itself with a violent fury. Use the tragic loss of life as a lesson. Be prepared for tornado season and don’t become the next victim.

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