Do You Have a Tornado Plan of Action?

by Safety Connection

Next week is Severe Weather Awareness Week in Wisconsin, and statewide tornado drills will be conducted on Thursday (4/15) at 1:45 and 6:45pm.

Madison has had several notable (thankfully not deadly) tornadoes over the last 20 years. Do you remember the October 2017 tornado that damaged homes and businesses near East Washington Avenue?

In 2014 a tornado severely damaged an elementary school and some homes in Verona, and that line of storms also produced a tornado that tore the roofs off 6 homes and damaged 23 others just off Schroeder Road in Madison. And in 2004, during one of Wisconsin’s bigger severe weather outbreaks, a tornado dropped down on the west side of Madison and damaged more than 200 homes and downed or shredded hundreds and hundreds of trees. FEMA eventually declared Dane County a disaster area.

When the tornado sirens blare, do you have a place to take cover at home or work?  Plan your shelter location ahead of time so you know exactly where to go when a warning is issued. Choose a basement or interior room on the lowest level away from corners, windows, doors and outside walls. The worst places to be during a tornado are in a mobile home or vehicle, underneath a highway underpass or in a large open interior space like a gymnasium or warehouse store.

Wear shoes so you don’t have to walk on glass or debris if your home or business is damaged, and have an emergency safety kit with a flashlight, batteries, bottled water, non-perishable food and a first-aid kit. Cellphones may not work and the power could go out, so have a weather radio or other radio available so you can continue to get news and alerts. It’s also handy to have a whistle so someone can hear you if your location is hit and you are trapped or buried in debris or tree branches.

And don’t forget to make a plan for your pets. Get them ready at the first sign of an approaching severe storm. Put dogs on a leash or cats in a carrier. Move your pets to the shelter ahead of the storm, and don’t forget to bring along pet food and any meds you might need if your location were to be impacted.

You can get more tornado awareness tips and facts on the ReadyWisconsin tornado webpage.

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