When tornado sirens wail, a good response plan can help keep your people safe. Lifesaving actions start with recognizing severe weather conditions, developing a plan, and being ready to act when a storm hits.
While many people have lived through a tornado, there are still a number of fatalities and injuries each year. With winds that can reach over 200 miles per hour, and funnels that can stretch a mile wide, the unpredictable nature of a tornado should not be taken lightly.
According to the National Weather Service's Storm Prediction Center, look for these signs of a tornado:
Be aware, many tornadoes are wrapped in heavy precipitation and can't be seen. If you suspect that a storm is brewing, listen to a weather radio programmed for your area, or check local television and radio broadcasts for the latest updates.
Ministries should also know if their area has a siren alert system to warn of approaching storms. Contact local emergency professionals and ask whether the siren will signal for a tornado watch or just a tornado warning.
While certain areas of the U.S. experience a defined tornado season, the National Weather Service cautions that these aggressive storms can strike at any time of day, any day of the year, all over the country. In an effort to protect those on your property during a storm, consider forming a tornado response plan. Your plan should include:
Having these precautions in place can promote a calmer environment in case of a real tornado. A plan prepared specifically for your ministry creates confidence in your leaders and can decrease the potential impact of a storm.
For more information to help in developing your tornado safety plan, refer to the following resources.
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