A year ago, the Brazil and Rosedale communities learned first-hand what high winds and tornado activity can do. Winds left residents without power and many homes were damaged.
Last year, the American Red Cross provided lifesaving disaster relief for more than 4,775 families whose lives were turned upside down by the devastating 32 tornadoes that roared through U.S. communities. The Red Cross set up tornado relief operations in 19 states in a season that was active and destructive from March through December. In the aftermath of these storms, Red Cross disaster relief workers provided safe shelter for more than 710 displaced residents in 47 shelters and served over 437,000 meals for affected families.
This is the most active part of tornado season. Nature's most violent storms, tornadoes can occur any time throughout the year and have wreaked havoc in every state. The Wabash Valley Chapter of the American Red Cross urges residents throughout the Wabash Valley to take steps now that can make your family safer when tornadoes threaten. The Red Cross recommends that families prepare for tornadoes by:
Creating and practicing a home tornado plan: Pick an uncluttered place where family members could seek shelter -- a basement, a center hallway, a bathroom, or a closet on the lowest floor.
Assembling a disaster supplies kit: Kits should contain a first aid kit and essential medications, canned food and manual can opener, bottled water, flashlights and a battery-powered radio with extra batteries and other emergency items for the whole family.
Heeding storm warnings: Listen to your local radio and TV stations for updated storm information. A tornado WATCH means a tornado is possible in your area and when a WARNING occurs go to the safe place you picked. If you are in a car or mobile home, get out immediately and head for safety.
Preparing for high winds: Make trees more wind resistant by removing diseased and damaged limbs, then strategically removing branches so that wind can blow through. Install permanent shutters on your windows and add protection to the outside areas of sliding glass doors. Strengthen garage doors and unreinforced masonry. Move or secure lawn furniture, outdoor decorations or ornaments, trash cans, hanging plants and anything else that can be picked-up by wind and become projectile.
For more information on tornado preparedness, contact the Wabash Valley Chapter of the American Red Cross at 812-232-3393 ext. 12, visit www.redcross.org or call (866) GET-INFO.