On July 5, an EF1 tornado hit the Southern Metro area that caused millions of dollars in damage to properties. Residents in Wyoming and Kentwood continue to work on fixing all of the destruction. About 400 of our residents were effected. The tornado stripped floors and ceilings of businesses and homes. Parks were demolished and vehicles and residences destroyed.
The Michigan Disaster Center states, “Compared with other states Michigan ranks number 20 for frequency of tornadoes, 5 for numbers of death, 8 for injuries and 22 for cost of damages.”
What is the best way to protect our neighbors and loved ones from a disaster such as this? The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) makes suggestion on some safety precautions:
-Keep at least a 3-day water supply per person and don’t forget about your pets.
-Get a refrigerator thermometer to be sure of safe storage temperatures if you lose electricity. Freeze extra containers of water ahead of time. use ice chests in case power is out for more than 4 hours.
The National Weather Service Office gives some more important tips on how to recognize signs of a tornado:
-Strong persistent rotation in cloud base.
-Whirling dust or debris on the ground under a cloud base
-Hail or heavy rain followed by either dead, calm, or fast, intense wind shift.
-A loud, continuous roar or rumble that also has a whistling sound.
If you are in a house with a basement: Avoid windows! Get in the basement and under some kind of heavy table or work bench. Cover yourself with a mattress or sleeping bag. Never go under pianos, refrigerators, or water beds. Even in an interior room, you should cover yourself with some sort of thick padding mattress.
Go to the lowest floor, small center room–like a bathroom or closet–under a stair well or in an interior hallway with no windows for more safety.
You should not try to outrun a tornado in your car. An EF-1 tornado can push a moving car off the road and an EF-2 tornado can pick a car off the ground.
Never hide under an overpass. Try to get to a nearby building and go inside to the lowest level without windows.
If there are not any buildings nearby, though, you can still protect yourself. If you spot a tornado, stop your car. If you can safely get lower than the level of the roadway, leave your car and lie as low as possible. Be sure to cover your head with your hands or an object. Move away from your vehicle. Do not hide underneath it, debris could fall on top of it and smash you.
For more tips on how to protect yourself in a car, truck, shopping mall, church, office building, or mobile home go to www.disastercenter.com. In order to find out how to apply for financial assistance, check out: www.fema.gov. If you would like information about current severe weather check out the Storm Prediction Center at www.weather.gov.