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Staying Safe During a Tornado: Highlands Ranch, Colorado

Photo by Thilani Ratheep:

With the tornado touching down and wreaking havoc over six miles of Highlands Ranch, yesterday, I thought there’s no time like the present to touch on what you should do to stay safe during these freak storms. While tornadoes may seem scary, it’s crucial to know what to do if you find yourself in the path of one. Tornadoes are powerful and unpredictable, but with the right knowledge and preparedness, you can stay safe. In this article, we’ll guide you through the steps to take during a tornado, so you can protect yourself, your family, and your property. Let’s dive in and learn how to navigate through the storm!

Step 1: Stay informed

The first step in tornado safety is to stay informed. Pay attention to local weather reports, watch for tornado watches and warnings, and listen to the guidance of local authorities. Most communities in Colorado have sirens or alert systems that provide early warnings, so familiarize yourself with these alerts and know how to respond when they are activated. It’s also a good idea to have a weather radio or a reliable smartphone app that can provide real-time weather updates.

Step 2: Create a tornado plan

Developing a tornado plan is essential to ensure everyone in your household knows what to do in case of a tornado. Identify a safe place in your home, such as a basement or an interior room on the lowest level, away from windows. Teach everyone in your family the designated safe spot and practice getting there quickly. Additionally, establish a communication plan so you can stay in touch with loved ones during severe weather. Designate a meeting place outside your home in case you need to evacuate.

Step 3: Gather emergency supplies

Having essential emergency supplies on hand is crucial during a tornado. Prepare a disaster kit that includes items such as a first aid kit, non-perishable food, bottled water, flashlights, batteries, a battery-powered radio, blankets, and any necessary medications. Keep your disaster kit in a readily accessible location, and ensure everyone in your family knows where it’s located. Regularly check and replenish supplies to ensure they are up to date.

Step 4: Take shelter

When a tornado warning is issued or you spot a tornado, it’s time to take shelter. Move quickly to your designated safe spot, avoiding windows and exterior walls. If you’re in a multi-story building or don’t have a basement, seek shelter in an interior room on the lowest level, such as a bathroom or a closet. Use furniture or mattresses to protect yourself from flying debris.

Step 5: Await clearance

During the tornado, stay informed about the storm’s progress through a weather radio or your smartphone. Listen for updates and instructions from local authorities. Once the tornado has passed, don’t immediately leave your shelter. Wait for official clearance and ensure it’s safe to come out. Be cautious of any potential hazards, such as downed power lines or structural damage. If you require assistance or suspect gas leaks or other dangers, contact emergency services.

Step 6: Check for damage and aid others

After the tornado has passed and it’s safe to leave your shelter, assess the damage to your property. Be mindful of any hazards, including damaged structures, fallen power lines, or gas leaks. If you are trained and it’s safe to do so, provide first aid to anyone injured and seek professional medical help if needed. Check on your neighbors, especially the elderly or those with disabilities, and offer assistance if you can. Community support and kindness are vital during the aftermath of a tornado.

Tornadoes can be frightening, but by following these steps, you can increase your safety and reduce the risk of harm to yourself and your loved ones. The key is preparedness and staying calm in the face of a storm. By knowing what to do and practicing tornado safety, you can face these natural disasters with confidence and protect what matters most. Stay safe out there!

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