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The Bathtub May Not Be The Safest Place During A Tornado: Have A Plan

Tornado NOAA.jpg

Scenes of destruction after last week’s deadly tornadoes in North Texas and this week in Moore, Oklahoma played a role in the decision by some school districts Tuesday to dismiss early under the threat of severe weather, which included possible tornadoes.  What should schools, businesses and families do to prepare?  KERA’s BJ Austin went to the Red Cross’ Anita Foster to find out.

  Before the tornado warning:

  • Know what your plan is:  at work, at school, at home, at the shopping mall.  Know where to go for maximum protection.

When the warning sirens sound:

  • Use this as the rule of thumb: You want as many walls between you and the outside world as possible.   Don’t run to the bathtub, the traditional recommendation, if your bathroom is on an exterior wall of your house. 
  • Have a backpack with water, first aid supplies, flashlight, radio, water, medication, copies of important papers. 
  • Forget dragging the mattress to the safe room.  Sofa cushions are easier to grab for protection from falling debris.  Also take a blanket.

After it’s over:

  • Stay put. Don’t try to make your own way out of the neighborhood because power lines are down and “hot”.  Oftentimes there are gas leaks.  Wait for first responders to safety evacuate you and others.  

Download the free Red Cross Tornado App

  • All the tornado watches and warnings, as well as severe thunderstorm warnings pop up on your phone immediately.

Red Cross Tornado Safety Checklist

Family Emergency Supply Kit List (Texas Department of Public Safety)

Former KERA reporter BJ Austin spent more than 25 years in broadcast journalism, anchoring and reporting in Atlanta, New York, New Orleans and Dallas. Along the way, she covered Atlanta City Hall, the Georgia Legislature and the corruption trials of Louisiana Gov. Edwin Edwards.