Tornado season is here, and our community has the chance right now to take some simple steps that can save lives if we are threatened this year by a storm. The disaster relief workers at the Central Virginia Chapter of the American Red Cross work hard in this community every day to provide relief for those whose lives have been torn apart by disasters.
However, in addition to helping after a disaster, the Red Cross mission calls for the organization to play an equally important role in preparing communities BEFORE disaster strikes so that families can learn ways to stay safe when facing the annual hurricane season.
We know that our region is at risk every year, so it is particularly vital that we work to keep our community safe by preparing for tornado season before it even starts. Taking a few moments to discuss these simple, common-sense preparedness steps with your family can save your life and the lives of the ones you love:
• Creating and practicing a Home Tornado Plan: Pick an uncluttered place where family members could seek shelter: a basement, a center hallway, bathroom, or closet on the lowest floor.
• Assembling a Emergency Preparedness Kit: Kits should contain a first aid kit and essential medications, canned food and manual can opener, bottled water, flashlights and a battery-powered radio with extra batteries and other emergency items for the whole family.
• Heeding Storm Warnings: Listen to your local radio and TV stations for updated storm information. A tornado WATCH means a tornado is possible in your area. When a tornado WARNING is issued, go to the safe place you picked to protect yourself from glass and other flying objects. If you are outside, hurry to the basement of a nearby sturdy building or lie flat in a ditch or low-lying area. If you are in a car or mobile home, get out immediately and head for safety.
• Preparing for High Winds: Make trees more wind resistant by removing diseased and damaged limbs, then strategically removing branches so that wind can blow through. Install permanent shutters on your windows and add protection to the outside areas of sliding glass doors. Strengthen garage doors and unreinforced masonry. Move or secure lawn furniture, outdoor decorations or ornaments, trash cans, hanging plants and anything else that can be picked up by wind and become a projectile.
For more information on tornado preparedness, you can contact the [chapter name] Chapter of the American Red Cross at [chapter phone number] or go online to www.redcross.org. We urge you to share these Red Cross tornado preparedness tips with every member of your household, because the best protection is to be prepared ahead of time.
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