This blog entry is part 2 of our disaster preparedness. Here we will be discussing how to stay safe during a tornado and wildfires. If you missed part 1, you can check it out HERE where we discuss earthquakes and floods.
Tornados occur in Michigan. When air is caught up in a violent column that is in contact with both the surface of the earth and a cloud, it creates a twister. These twisters move across the surface of the earth causing destruction. Thankfully, the weather service can quickly alert residents if a tornado is approaching by sounding a loud siren signaling everyone to find some place safe.
First it’s important to understand the difference between a Tornado Watch and a Tornado Warning.
A watch indicates tornados are possible. Remain alert and be prepared to take shelter if necessary.
A warning indicates a tornado has been sighted or indicated by the weather radar. Take shelter immediately.
It’s important to be safe and take shelter in different scenarios to avoid being hurt from debris.
- House. Take cover in a basement or the lowest level you can reach. Stay away from doors and windows. Hide under something sturdy like a table. By surrounding yourself with blankets you help shield out anything that could cut you.
- Mobile Home. These are easily picked up and blown away during a tornado. You are safest by abandoning the mobile home and hiding out somewhere safe.
- Driving. Vehicles are never safe during a tornado. Stop driving and locate the closest building for shelter. Don’t think you can drive faster than the tornado because you won’t win.
- Outside. If you aren’t able to find shelter nearby, try and find a ditch. The lower you are the better. Cover yourself with your arms. Don’t hide under trees. Their debris will fall on you and cause harm.
Walk around your house and discuss with your family which rooms are best to take cover in, in the event of a tornado. If your house is no longer safe, make sure you’re all on the same page about where to meet.
Wildfires don’t often happen in Michigan, but that doesn’t mean they’re not possible. To help prevent wildfires you can take precautions. Don’t burn wood if the area is very dry, keep your fire away from close buildings or other structures that could easily catch fire. Keep your fire contained in some sort of pit.
There are some simple steps you can take to stay safe during a wildfire.
- Make sure you have an emergency kit ready
- Have a fire escape plan. Practice with your family.
- Store fire extinguishers, buckets, shovels, ladders and lengths of hose
- Have a minimum of 2 ground-floor escape exits
- Install smoke detectors or alarms and check them monthly. It is recommended to replace the batteries annually or when the manufacturer recommends.
- Have reliable phones or two way radios, and keep the local number for reporting fires
If there is a wildfire in your area. You’ll want to stay healthy and keep out of harm’s way. You can do things like pay attention to the air quality reports, keep indoor air clean if possible or stay outdoors if advised. Don’t add to indoor pollution. Don’t think that dust masks will keep you protected. Those are used to keep large particles out of your lungs but don’t protect you from smoke.