Tornadoes are probably the most dangerous natural disasters. They arise from storm clouds. The latter are formed in a zone of the cyclone. Depending on the strength of the cyclone, there may be a powerful hurricane, a huge air mass migrating from the open ocean, splashing on the beach and beginning its destructive journey. Vortices (tornadoes) are in seconds formed from storm clouds, rising dust and objects into the air, breaking trees, buildings, injuring and killing people.
The risk of tornadoes exists mainly in coastal (ocean, sea) territories. In areas, distant from the shore, the risk of a strong vortex decreases.
In each state, where hurricanes have become a permanent natural disaster, there are maps of evacuation zones and special evacuation plans in case of repetition of a natural disaster. However, those who live in potentially dangerous areas, e.g. in coastal areas need to prepare themselves for the onset of a hurricane. How to do it?
Before the storm:
Develop the plan
Without waiting for a horrifying prognosis, it is better to find out whether the town is in the evacuation zone. If yes, one should consider the most efficient route to the nearest safe place, reserve a room in a hotel/motel that is not in the evacuation zone or in the coastal zone. The family members should be warned about the place of the stay.
Fill the tank of the car with fuel
This will help save time during the evacuation and protect against delays in the danger zone. If the evacuating fails, the battery of the car can serve as a source of electricity.
Stock up on food and water, collect valuable items and papers.
One person will need about 4 liters of water a day. Food for three days must not be perishable or require cooking. The person should stockpile canned food, cereal and milk, jam, bread, as it is always difficult to predict how quickly will the hurricane stop. The first aid kit and insurance, special medications, battery-powered radio, working flashlights and extra batteries, sleeping bag, fire extinguisher, rope, a knife for canned food, baby stuff, credit cards, etc. should not be forgotten. All this can be placed in the car or gathered in a prominent place in the house, if there is no need to leave the house. If the person does not have a personal vehicle, he should evacuate light. It is better to find the nearest shelter and means of transporting the inhabitants to it. As a rule, people are not allowed to bring animals to shelters, so they should be taken care of in advance.
Take video or photo of home
Detailed photo or video will help to sue the insurance company if home gets demolished by wind or washed by wave.
All the easy parts of the interior (bookshelves) and exterior (gutters, gazebo) should be secured so they would not be blown away by the wind. Also, the person should reinforce the roof with additional clamps, score windows with plywood or secure the shutters so they are not smashed by the wind. For front door should be used the material not thinner than 2 cm. A bath or tank of water, as well as the urn with sand will be helpful in case of fire. A battery-powered radio should be regularly checked. During natural disasters, it is not recommended to stay in the homes on wheels and keep dense, untended vegetation, which can cause additional damage and injury near the house.
If possible, it is better to follow the information about the movement of the hurricane on the radio or television and wait for the disposal of the authorities about the opening of shelters. After that, it is required to keep calm and proceed immediately to the evacuation.
During the hurricane one should:
Stay inside the house or shelter.
Stay away from windows and doors. Turn off appliances and gas cylinders.
Use the phone only in cases of extreme necessity. Do not overload the communication lines with unnecessary calls.
Lull may mean that there is the eye of the hurricane above. After a while, the offensive elements may resume. It is better to stay in the shelter.
If there is a feeling that the home will soon collapse, the person should get under a sturdy table or the stairs. The safest place in home can be a tub.
It is better to distract children with the game or another activity, let them eat. This will relieve stress and reduce fear and panic.
It is prohibited to leave home until receiving official notification that the storm has ended.
The use of candles to light the room should be avoided in order not to start the fire.
If the house seems an unsafe place, even before the hurricane or during the lull, it is better to move to an official shelter, taking food, blankets, sleeping bags, flashlights and water.
Upon arrival in the shelter the person needs to register everyone who had come along with him.
If the family has people with health issues, one should be sure that there is appropriate equipment, or should be ready to provide the help if needed.
Follow the instructions of volunteers on duty at the shelter.
If there is an additional need to travel during the storm, it is a must to avoid already flooded areas, and not to attempt to cross or walk along the streams of water if the person is immersed in them above the knee.
Driving through the flooded streets and highways is not the best idea. Perhaps, the road surface had already been washed away, which could aggravate the driver’s position and cause a crash.
When a hurricane stops:
One should seek for medical help if necessary.
It is a must to keep away from broken power lines and wet electrical appliances, inform the appropriate authorities about their failure. The same should be done with water.
The person should assist search and rescue teams only if this was requested. If possible, one should give first aid to injured or stranded people, people with disabilities.
The news about the storm are broadcasted on radio and TV.
Inspecting flooded areas alone or using personal transport in such places are not the best ideas.
Approach flooded homes is very dangerous. Water can erode the foundation, so there is the risk of collapse of the walls and roof.
Sturdy waterproof shoes is a must.
Before returning to the house, the integrity of walls, floors, doors, stairs, windows and foundation should be checked and the possibility of fire, short circuits, leakage of water or gas leaks should be eliminated. It is better to ventilate the house and let the furniture dry.
It is strictly forbidden:
to create crowding in shelters;
to provoke traffic jams or street;
to use a car unless absolutely necessary;
explore the area alone.
Surviving in a natural disaster and assisting victims is an important mission, the chances of successful outcome of which are directly dependent on awareness about what may be a threat in certain cases. Following these easy steps will help to save the own life, as well as the lives of family and friends.