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Be prepared for a busy storm weekend in OKC

tornado pic

Staff Report

Storm guidelines and suggestions from the Oklahoma City government …

Having a communications and safety plan for you and your family and preparing a disaster kit are the most important things you can do to be ready for a potentially busy storm weekend in Oklahoma City.

The National Weather Service has rated the threat of severe weather in Oklahoma City as the third-highest on a five-point scale for today, and the second-highest for Saturday. There’s a slightly diminished threat on Sunday. It’s important to stay weather aware as the forecast evolves.

Here are some preparation tips.

Stay weather aware

It’s critically important to stay weather aware when severe thunderstorms are possible, especially if you hear an outdoor warning siren.
Have at least three sources to receive weather information and warnings:

·        The National Weather Service website or Twitter feed
·        Local television and radio stations
·        NOAA Weather Alert radio
·        Smartphone apps such as the Red Cross Emergency App, which is available by texting GETEMERGENCY to 90999 or by going to the Apple App Store or Google Play.
·        OKC Accessible Hazard Alert System

Plan ahead

Develop a severe weather safety plan. Consider what actions you would take at home, school, work or while commuting.

Make sure you and your family understand where to go to stay safe in a tornado.

·        The safest place to be in a tornado is an underground storm shelter, above-ground safe room or basement.
·        If no underground shelter or safe room is available, go to the lowest level of a sturdy building or your home. Put as many walls between you and the outside as possible. Avoid windows, doors and exterior walls. Closets and bathrooms are often good choices.

Practice your plan. Conduct a home tornado drill. Make sure every family can open, close and latch the door to the storm shelter or safe room.

Make a list of emergency meeting places should you and your family be separated.
·        Meeting places include parks, businesses, neighbors’ homes, churches, schools, etc.
·        List at least three meeting places along with their addresses, phone numbers.

Prepare a disaster emergency supply kit

Your emergency kit should be updated each year and out-of -date supplies should be replaced as necessary.

Suggested supplies include:

·        Water: at least one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days.
·        Food: at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food for each person.
·        Radio: battery-powered and/or hand crank radio, preferably an NOAA Weather Alert radio.
·        Flashlights.
·        Extra batteries for radios and flashlights.
·        First aid kit
·        Whistle to signal for help
·        Dust mask for each family member
·        Miscellaneous tools: wrench, pliers, screw drivers, hammer, etc.
·        Manual can opener.
·        Local map.
·        Cash: ATMs might be unavailable for several days during a disaster.
·        Medications
·        Special dietary requirements
·        Medical equipment
·        Formula, diapers and bottles for babies
·        Pet food, leash and medications.
Tornado safety

Sheltering-in-place is the recommendation of Oklahoma City Emergency Management. It is safer to take immediate shelter in a sturdy structure where you are than to drive during an imminent storm threat.

·        Always wear sturdy, closed-toe shoes during a tornado threat.
·        Get inside and seek shelter. Flying debris is the greatest danger.
·        Get into a basement, storm shelter or safe room if possible.
·        If there’s no shelter, get to the lowest level of the building and get into the interior-most hallway or room without windows like a bathroom, pantry or closet.
·        Avoid places or rooms with wide-span roofs like cafeterias, gymnasiums and shopping malls.
·        Mobile homes are unsafe shelters. Make plans before the storm arrives to seek a safer place.
·        People in apartments should get to an apartment on the lowest level of their building and get to an interior, window-less room.
·        Do not drive during a tornado threat.
·        Do not seek shelter underneath a bridge or overpass.
·        If stranded outside, lie down in a low-lying area away from vehicles, but remain aware of possible flash flooding.
·        Do not seek shelter in drainage systems, culverts or ditches due to possible flash flooding.

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