TOPEKA, Kan. -- The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Kansas Division of Emergency Management (KDEM) are teaming up during Severe Weather Awareness Week March 10-14, 2008 to make residents aware of the threat of tornadoes. Governor Kathleen Sebelius is reminding all Kansas residents that each household needs to have a disaster preparedness plan.
2007 was another record breaking year for tornadoes in the state of Kansas. A total of 137 tornadoes occurred in the state and resulted in 15 fatalities, 82 injuries and millions of dollars in damage to homes, property and infrastructure. The 2007 total surpasses the previous record of 135 tornadoes set in 2005.
Tornadoes are nature's most violent storms. They can appear suddenly without warning and can be invisible until dust and debris are picked up or a funnel cloud appears. Planning and practicing specifically how and where you take shelter is a matter of survival. Be prepared to act quickly.
Prepare for a Tornado
When it comes to tornado safety, there is no fool-proof measure that can guarantee your safety. However, by following the tips listed below, your chances of survival are greatly increased.
Before a tornado strikes:
1. Look for approaching storms which:
- May include a dark greenish tint
- Contain large hail
- Produce a loud roaring noise of rushing wind
2. Monitor NOAA Weather Radio for the latest updates (www.weather.gov/nwr/) as well as local radio and television news outlets for the latest developments
- A tornado watch means a tornado is possible in your area.
- A tornado warning is when a tornado is actually occurring; you must take shelter immediately.
Where to go when a tornado warning has been issued for your area:
- Go to a pre-designated shelter area such as a safe room, basement, storm cellar, or the lowest building level. If there is no basement, go to the center of an interior room on the lowest level (closet, interior hallway) away from corners, windows, doors, and outside walls. Put as many walls as possible between you and the outside. Get under a sturdy table and use your arms to protect your head and neck. Do not open windows.
2. In a vehicle:
- Your first option might be driving away from the danger. Notice the direction of movement of the tornado and drive at a right angle to a shelter. Remember to drive at a right angle; never try to outrun the tornado.
- Otherwise, get out of your vehicle and lie flat in a nearby ditch or depression and cover your head with your hands. Be aware of the potential for flooding.
- Do not get under an overpass or bridge. You are safer in a low, flat location.
3. In a trailer or mobile home:
- Get out immediately and go to the lowest floor of a sturdy, nearby building or a storm shelter. Mobile homes, even if tied down, offer little protection from tornadoes.
If all else fails remember the word DUCK:
Down to the lowest level
Under something sturdy
Cover your head
Keep in shelter until the storm passes
Plan to stay in the shelter location until the danger has passed. After a tornado, be sure to remain out of damaged buildings and stay clear of downed power lines. Help injured or trapped people. Check on others who may require special assistance, such as the elderly, children and people with disabilities.
Local authorities may not immediately be able to provide information on what is happening and what you should do. However, you should listen to www.nws.noaa.gov...