Emergency Preparedness: Floods and Tornadoes

This emergency management video highlights floods and tornadoes and what to do to be prepared before and after these natural disasters.


We all know what floods and tornadoes are, and the devastation they leave in their wake. So, let’s talk facts. Floods are one of the most common natural disasters, and cause billions of dollars in damages a year. Two feet of moving water can sweep a vehicle away, and only six inches of moving water can sweep a person off their feet. Communities that are low-lying, coastal, or downstream from a large body of water are at higher risk for flooding. In the US, tornadoes can occur at anytime, but tornado season is from March through August. They can strike quickly, with little to no warning, and 80% of them happen between noon and midnight. They can last anywhere from a minute to over an hour, and they generally occur near the trailing edge of a thunderstorm. Most injuries or deaths occur as people try to escape the storm, when they are hit by debris, or if they are caught in a collapsed building. Tornadoes can be nearly transparent until they pick up dust, debris, or a cloud forms in the funnel. Also, it’s very important to know these terms. With tornadoes, you have your tornado watch, which is issued when the conditions are favorable for the formation of a tornado. Tornado warning is issued when a tornado has been sighted. With floods, you have your flood watch, which means flooding is possible. With flood warning, a flood is either occurring, or will occur soon. If advised, evacuate immediately. It’s important to prepare before a natural disaster hits. You can start by building an emergency kit. Items include … (light music) Additional items could include cellphone chargers, medication, cash and pet supplies. If you already have a kit prepared, the final step is make a plan, whether at home or at work. For tornadoes, if you are outside, seek shelter indoors immediately. If you can’t get indoors, lie in a ditch or low-lying area, and use your arms to protect your head and neck. Designate a space or room that will be safe during the storm. It’s important to pick an interior room on the lowest level that has no windows. Once inside, get under and hold on to a piece of sturdy furniture, such as a desk or table. If you’re in a bathroom, you can seek shelter in a tub, and cover yourself with a mattress or thick padding. For floods, it’s important to know your evacuation routes and shelter plans. Seek shelter on higher ground, and if told to evacuate, do so immediately. Make sure to stay tuned for updates during a flood. After the bad weather has passed, there are a few things to remember. For floods, be careful where flood waters have receded. Watch out for weakened roads and bridges. Avoid coming into contact with flood water, because it may be contaminated. For tornadoes, watch out for broken glass, fallen power lines, and do not enter damaged areas until authorized to do so. We can’t prevent these natural disasters from happening, but we can be ready for them. For more information natural disasters and what you can do to prepare for them, check out these sites.

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