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Tornado Season - Are You Prepared?

Are you storm aware? This means that not only are you and your family prepared and able to protect yourself, but you also monitor and are aware of changing weather and forecast. You know the difference between a tornado watch and tornado warning.

A tornado watch means tornadoes are possible. Remain alert for approaching storms. Watch the sky and stay tuned to a NOAA Radio. A tornado warning means a tornado has been sighted or indicated by weather radar. Take shelter immediately.

This means you have planned in advance and you know your plan and where you will go no matter where you are, such as home, work, and at other places such a friend or families house. Always be alert to changing weather conditions.

Being storm aware also means you have a NOAA weather radio in case of severe weather warnings in the middle of the night and you have signed up to receive weather alerts on your phone. Basically you are staying ahead of the storm.

Some basic tips to consider for yourself, your family and loved ones:

- Know what a tornado is;

- Know what tornado watches and warnings are;

- Pick a safe room in your home where household members and pets may gather during a tornado. This should be a basement, storm cellar or an interior room on the lowest floor with no windows.

- Listen to NOAA Weather Radio ( or to commercial radio or television newscast for the latest information.

- Check with your work and children's school and day care center regarding tornado emergency plans. Every building has different safe places. It is important to know where they are and how to get there in an emergency.

- Make sure everyone understands how tornado siren warning systems work and if a warning system is installed in your area.

- Mark clearly where your first-aid kit and fire extinguishers are located. Make sure the first-aid kit is properly stocked with medical supplies.

- Teach your family how to administer basic first aid, how to use the fire extinguisher, and how and when to turn off water, gas, and electricity in your home.

- Mark clearly where the utility switches or valves are located so they can be turned off - if time permits.

- Learn the emergency dismissal policy for your child's school.

- If you don't have a shelter, find your nearest shelter to the location you are at when the siren blows. Don't ignore sirens. It could cost you and your loved ones life.

Emergency Kits:

Keep the followig items in a container that can be easily carried.

- Water and canned or dried food - families should set aside one gallon of water per person per day to last three days, and a three-day supply of food per person. The food should be nonperishable items that don't need to be cooked, such as tuna and crackers. Remember to include a manual can opener. If there's an infant in the house, include formula and baby food.

- Battery powered radio

- Flashlight

- Extra batteries for the radio and flashlight

- Prescription medications

- First-aid kit

- Birth certificates

- Ownership certificates (autos, boats, home, etc.)

- Social security cards

- Insurance cards

- Will

- Household Inventory

- List of contents of household, include serial number, if applicable

- Photographs or videotapes of contents of the home

- Photographs of items of high values, such as jewlry, paintings, collection items.

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