The emergency plan to protect yourself from tornadoes is simple and essential

Across the nation’s fifth-largest city and across a country up the east coast, the State of Emergency remains in effect. But for those left without power or shelter, knowing what to do in an…

The emergency plan to protect yourself from tornadoes is simple and essential

Across the nation’s fifth-largest city and across a country up the east coast, the State of Emergency remains in effect.

But for those left without power or shelter, knowing what to do in an emergency can be easier said than done.

The National Weather Service’s Office of the Chief Scientist puts it simply: “All the information the public needs to stay safe.”

A father of two, Kansas fire captain, and meteorologist Rick Brown — who has a masters in climatology — suggests a plan, the most crucial being the distribution of family-certified first-aid kits.

Once a kit is on hand, “If you hear the sirens, just go downstairs, close all windows, close your doors, and that will protect you until the police or fire department can rescue you,” he says.

According to NOAA, before storms hit, the safest time to leave is immediately after they’ve started, typically when wind speeds reach 60 mph.

The devices NOAA cites as indispensable are NOAA Weather Radio and Outdoor Weather Information Receivers. (If it’s too windy or the sun is up or there are trucks and other vehicles nearby, these might not be the best choices.)

Brown says any type of wind and/or rain-related road closures will cause the fastest progress.

Here are some tips for keeping safe during a tornado:

1. Power, Internet, and phone services are to be avoided at all costs.

2. Drive your car, not a friend’s, off the road.

3. Close all windows, such as and outside door, door frame, and inside door.

4. Close both outside and inside doors to block any wind and rain entering the home. Do not open doorframes to allow breezes to enter the home.

5. Purge the basement of all appliances and furnishings. This includes manual refrigerators, freezers, and water heaters.

6. Check to see if your insurance coverage entitles you to FEMA reimbursement. Go to www.disasterassistance.gov or call 1-800-621-3362 (FEMA).

7. Turn on warning sirens, if you have them. These sirens give you more warning time than phone, radio, or TV warnings.

8. Open your basement door, if possible, since wind in the basement can push water up to reach roof level.

9. Those in a house with eaves that support windows should remain in the doorway while the window is open.

10. For those in an office or business building or on a construction site or at an art gallery, go to an area outside the path of the tornado.

For others, it is too dangerous to leave — or to leave without proper shelter — and the game is over for some.

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