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The Red Cross Urges the Community to Prepare Now for Tornadoes

Red Cross Tornado App
By preparing together for tornadoes, we can make our families safer and our communities stronger. --Meghan Spreer

As tornado season begins, the Kansas Capital Area Chapter of the American Red Cross urges residents in the northeast Kansas area to take steps now to stay safer when tornadoes threaten.

“By preparing together for tornadoes, we can make our families safer and our communities stronger,” said Meghan Spreer, Regional Director of Communications for the Kansas Capital Area Chapter. “We can help you and your family create a tornado preparedness plan now, before our community is threatened by severe weather.”

As with any disaster, preparation can be the difference between life or death. The Red Cross recommends that individuals and families prepare for tornadoes by:

Creating and practicing a Home Tornado Plan: Pick a “safe room” or uncluttered area without windows where family members and pets could seek shelter on the lowest floor possible: a basement, a center hallway, a bathroom or a closet. Putting as many walls between you and the outside provides additional protection.

Downloading the free Red Cross Tornado app: The free app—available in English or Spanish—gives iPhone, iPad and Android smart phone and tablet users instant access to local and real-time information, so they know what to do before, during and after a tornado. The app includes a high-pitched siren and “tornado warning!” alert that signals people when a NOAA tornado warning has been issued in their area – even if the app is closed. An “all clear!” alert lets users know when a tornado warning has expired or has been cancelled. Download the app by visiting redcross.org/mobileapps.

Assembling a Emergency Preparedness Kit: Kits should contain a first aid kit and essential medications, foods that don’t require cooking or refrigeration 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. When a tornado WARNING is issued, go to the safe room you picked to protect yourself from glass and other flying objects. If you are outside, hurry to the basement of a nearby sturdy building. . If you are in a car or mobile home, get out immediately and head to the nearest building for safety. If you are outside and there are no buildings, lie flat in a low lying area or ditch and cover your head with your arms and hands.

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 a projectile.

For more information on tornado preparedness, contact the Kansas Capital Area Chapter of the American Red Cross at 785-234-0568, visit www.redcross.org/kansascapital or call 1-800 RED CROSS.

About the American Red Cross:

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or join our blog at blog.redcross.org.