In Tennessee the weather can often be unpredictable, especially during tornado season which peaks March through May. However, storms and tornadoes can happen at any time throughout the year.
A weather watch (such as thunderstorm or tornado watch) means that a storm or tornado could develop. A weather warning means that the severe weather has been detected by radar or spotted by storm trackers and you need to act immediately.
It is important to prepare for these uncertain events as a family. Ensuring that everyone in the family understands what to do in a potential time of danger can provide peace of mind for all.
Here are some steps to take during severe weather to stay safe:
- Severe Thunderstorms – Get to a sturdy building or vehicle. Avoid tall things such as trees and power lines which can attract lightening and fall over. Close the window blinds or shades to protect against shattered glass and avoid taking baths or showers until after the storm. If outside and unable to get inside, get to a low, open space and make yourself as small as possible.
- Tornadoes – Listen to the local media for weather updates. If in a mobile home or vehicle, get to a solid building as soon as possible. Go to the lowest most interior part of your home or building such as a basement, closet or bathroom. Protect your head and cover yourself with a pillow, mattress or thick blanket. Avoid windows and sitting under heavy objectives from the floor above that could fall through the ceiling.
- Flash Floods – Never drive, walk or swim in flash flood waters. Turn around and go the other way. The water could be moving fast so it’s important to avoid it.
Planning is key when it comes to your family being ready for anything mother nature can throw at you. Planning also helps to ease the fear that younger children may develop when a severe storm hits. Repetition is important, so we suggest practicing different scenarios with your family once you have a solid plan in place. It’s also a good idea for your family to have a list of emergency contact numbers that are readily available.
Developing a safety plan can help foster confidence in what to do for your family. You’ll want to agree as a family where to meet in a time of emergency so that everyone can stay together with ease. Creating a family emergency kit is another great way to get the entire family involved when it comes to safety planning. This kit should include at least a three-day supply of water and food for each member of your family. You’ll also want to include flashlights, batteries, medicine, and anything else deemed crucial to your family. This can also be a great opportunity to include books or project supplies to occupy the younger members of your household.
While storms and tornados can be unexpected events, this doesn’t mean your family should panic or scramble for safety. By developing a plan, having resources readily available, and having specific agreed-upon guidelines to follow, these events can be faced with minimum stress. Keep in touch with Pediatric Associates of Franklin with any questions about emergency preparedness or other health concerns.