Off your butt; create a disaster plan
January 08, 2008
Are you one of the ones who have procrastinated in developing a tornado disaster plan? Gov. Matt Blunt in the wake of the recent string of tornadoes that hit Southwest Missouri wants to remind everyone that "no place is safe from a tornado--whether it be near a river, lake or in the mountains."

While "macho man" stands in the doorway completing his death wish, the rest of the family is ready to seek a safe area to wait out the fury of the storm. And that safe area, Blunt reminds everyone, is in a storm shelter or on the lowest level of the house under something sturdy or covered up by a heavy blanket.

Avoid windows is a no-brainer. Without a basement seek shelter in the central area of your home, like a closet or hallway. Blunt didn't mention this but scrunching down in an old cast iron bathtub was a location of choice for many who had them. By the way, concerning windows, the latest information, like the butter or ice controversy for burns, is not to open them "to equalize pressure." It presumably only lets in the wind...something to avoid if you don't have a hole in the roof or wall yet.

And get out of that trailer and hit the lowest spot in the area. Trailer parks seem to be magnets for rotation as in the one at MM and Route 37 near Monett that was leveled in the latest twister debacle.

Are you also one of the ones frantically searching for batteries to put in your weather radio the last minute?'re being given credit for having a weather radio; so, make sure you do have one.

Besides the radio, what else should be part of an emergency kit? Blunt's suggestions include extra batteries for the weather radio and a flashlight, them, water, canned or dried food and a first aid kit. You might leave out the food. You'll probably forget to include a hand held can opener. Instead, consider having a deck of cards or a battery-operated techno-gadget to help pass the time waiting for an all clear report...and keep "macho man" from heading for the nearest window to see what's going on.

If you are not at home when a tornado siren sounds, Blunt advises you to not seek shelter in an auditorium, gymnasium or structure with a large free span roof and unless you are a storm chaser, do not assume that you are able to outrun a tornado in your car. Get out of it and find a ditch, as scary as that sounds.

And getting back to having that plan, Blunt warns,"It only takes a moment for disaster to strike, and it is so important for families to have an emergency plan in place before it happens. A small amount of planning can make a big difference in an emergency."

The severe storms and tornadoes that blew through Missouri late Monday evening resulted in two deaths and more than 30 people injured. Initial assessments found more than 195 homes, businesses or other structures suffered storm damage.

Still too disorganized or unmotivated? The state's Ready in Three program provides guidelines for families to set up emergency plans. Step one is to create a plan for you, your family, and at work. Step two is to prepare that emergency kit for home, car, and work that includes essentials like food, water, and a flashlight. Step three is to listen for information about what to do and where to go during an actual emergency. For more information aboutReady in Three, visit here.

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