TULSA - Another storm season is here.
It's time to make sure you and your family are ready for storms.
Look for an interior room. In my house, it is the living room closet. For some it might be a bathroom or a hallway. I want you in a room that is not on an outside wall. During weather talks, I tell kids to put as many walls between you and the outside as possible. Not only do you need to identify this location, but make sure everyone in the house knows the location and when to seek cover there.
Mobile homes are great places to live. My family lived in one for a while growing up. During a tornado warning, you want to get out of a mobile home and into a more substantial structure. It doesn't matter if they are strapped down, chained down, or screwed in, do not be inside a mobile home during a tornado warning.
Wait for a calm, quiet weather day and sit down with your kids. Explain that though tornadoes are rare, there will be times when the family will need to gather in the "safe place" to take cover. It might be daytime or nighttime. Calmly explain that a tornado warning doesn't mean a tornado will strike your home, only that there could be one. Just like students have tornado drills in schools, you should have a tornado drill in your home. This way, they know what to expect, and some of the fear of the unknown is removed.
When I do a weather talk to children I often take our "goody bag." It contains items that may be needed during tornado warnings. Here are some things I recommend:
- Battery operated television or radio
- Map to follow the coverage
- First aid kit
- Bottled water
- Blanket or winter coat
- Hard soled shoes
- Toy such as a coloring book or doll for children
To calm children's nerves talk about things other than the storm. A previous vacation, favorite Christmas gift, what you plan to do this summer, whatever, but take their minds off the storm. It will not only calm them, but help you pass the time. Most tornado warnings are issued for about 30-45 minutes. That can be a long time when you have your entire family stuffed in a closet.
The best thing to do is stay informed. Now, it's easier than ever. Well before storms hit, we talk about it on our newscasts.
Got a smartphone or tablet? Download our Storm Shield Weather Radio app for both Apple and Android products!
Direct link from your phone or tablet to download Storm Shield from the Apple iTunes store - http://bit.ly/kjrhstormshield
Direct link from your phone or tablet to download Storm Shield from the Android Google Play store - http://bit.ly/stormshieldandroid
The main thing to remember is to stay calm.
If you panic, others around you will do the same. Stay confident and deliberate. Have a plan and when a tornado warning is issued, take a deep breath and follow that plan. Know that no matter when storms hit, we will be there watching them and keeping you informed, even if it's winter.