Friday, April 25, 2014

Wisconsin’s Tornado & Severe Weather Awareness Week, by Stella Nathan

“Wisconsin’s Tornado and Severe Weather Awareness Week” concludes today. Wisconsin averages 23 tornadoes annually. Tornadoes can happen at any time, but April through August is peak tornado season in Wisconsin.

The information provided by ReadyWisconsin most people already know to do in case of a tornado or severe weather. However there are some things that may surprise people. If you are in a car while a tornado hits, it is advised that if you cannot reach shelter, to pull over and keep your seat belt on. You are to sit in your seat and place your head below the windows. Something else advised by ReadyWisconsin was that you do not seek shelter under an overpass.  Living in a mobile home, even if it is tied down is not a safe place to be during severe weather and tornadoes. If you are in a mobile home, you will want to leave your home and go to a designated storm shelter.

People know that they are to go into a basement when severe weather hits. But some may be surprised to know that ReadyWisconsin advises people to wear bike helmets to protect their heads. If you are at home or in another building avoid windows! You can seek shelter under sturdy tables or stairs. If there is no basement try and find a small interior room or hallway on the lowest floor. A bathtub can also be used to seek shelter. Cover yourself in blankets and pillows. Something else that people may not be aware of is that they are supposed to keep personal documentation safe. Personal documentation includes birth certificates, proof of address, deed/lease to home, passports, insurance policies, and family and emergency contact information.

ReadyWisconsin advises people to listen, act and live. It is important to know how to keep yourself and others safe in the case of severe weather, even when you are not at home.

At school, follow the drill that is in place. Stay away from windows and large open rooms such as gyms and auditoriums or any place with a free-span roof. Do not use elevators. Do not talk loudly or rough house. It is important to listen, be alert, and follow directions.

Whether you are at home, work, school, or outdoors, you and other people around you should have a plan. You should know where the safest shelter areas are in multiple locations. You should have a disaster supply kit in your home, and car and make sure you know where the first aid kit is at work. A disaster supply kit should include water and food that won’t spoil or doesn’t need to be prepared with heat. People can also make a kit or buy one.

 According to the Red Cross, you should pack things in your kit that suit the needs of your family or whoever is likely to be around you during an emergency.  You might need things for your pet or extra formula and diapers for a baby. Make sure that you check your kit regularly and update it accordingly. You will need batteries and flashlights that work, band-aids, battery powered or hand crank radios, sanitation items, blankets, and copies of personal documentations. Visit the Red Cross, ReadyWisconsin or contact Tod Pritchard at or 608-242-3324 for more information.