Several catastrophic weather emergencies have threatened communities in the past few years. Tornadoes and severe weather don’t just happen in Texas and the Midwest, they can happen anywhere. What should you do if threatened by severe weather or a tornado?
Here are a few rules that can make a real difference in surviving a serve storm or a tornado at your facility:
- Know the difference between a Watch and a Warning. A WATCH means conditions are right for the formation of severe weather and/or a tornado, and a WARNING means an actual serve weather and/or a tornado has been spotted in a nearby area. Sometimes there is no time for warnings, so if the conditions seem right, start listening to weather reports.
- Designate shelter areas in your facility. Avoid large rooms with wide free-span roofs. If your facility has a basement, use that. If not, you should use interior hallways on the ground floor that are not parallel to the tornado's path. Do not use temporary buildings or vehicles to house people. All employees should be instructed in tornado procedures.
- Have a plan of action developed, and rehearse it regularly. Make sure that the alarm system works and test it frequently. Also have an alternative alarm system in case the power goes out. Have the employees sit in the designated area on the floor near a wall and in as protected of an area as possible, with the heads down. The most frequent cause of death by tornado is head injury by flying objects.
- Know the four danger signs of tornados:
- SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS: thunder, lightning, heavy rains and strong winds
- ROARING NOISE: a crashing thunderous sound
- HAIL: pellets of ice from dark-clouded skies
- FUNNEL: dark, spinning "rope" or column from the sky to the ground
These items should be addressed in your Emergency Action Plan. Our April 14th Safety Academy will address these issues as we and explore Severe Weather Strategy & Emergency Actions Plans. Please be on the lookout for the invitation as we all prepare for the spring storms in Texas.