Midwest Tornadoes Aftermath: 3 Fundamental Emergency Preparedness Tips

In the span of just one weekend, a series of devastating tornadoes tore through the American Heartland, leaving behind a trail of destruction and casualties. In Oklahoma, storms claimed four lives, including an infant, and wrought significant damage across towns. Similarly, in Iowa, the Pleasant Hill tornado, classified as EF-2,  affected countless lives within minutes.

Midwest Tornadoes Aftermath: 3 Fundamental Emergency Preparedness TipsTimeline and Impact of Midwest Tornadoes

The outbreak began on Friday April 26th, starting in central Nebraska and progressing into central Iowa. The first tornado damage occurred in the afternoon near Lincoln, where an industrial building in Lancaster County was struck, collapsing and trapping 70 individuals inside.

As the system moved eastward, central Iowa was hit by at least 10 tornadoes, causing widespread destruction. By late Saturday night, the devastation reached Sulphur, Oklahoma, where over 20,000 people were left without electricity. In Sulphur, extensive damage was reported as a tornado ravaged the downtown area. Many businesses were decimated as cars and buses were tossed about.

Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt, visiting the affected area, remarked on the severity of the destruction, noting that “every business downtown has been destroyed.” 

Preparation and Prevention: Key to Mitigating Disaster Impact

The recent midwest tornado outbreaks are a reminder that it’s always a good time to review your emergency preparedness plans: it’s easy for priorities to get lost in the daily shuffle. Strong leadership is required, especially for businesses and organizations, given the many moving parts of day to day operations.. 

Implementing robust emergency protocols is the next logical step in ensuring that this priority translates into actionable measures. One should consider infrastructure resilience, emergency plans and drills, and communication systems.

3 Practical Safety Tips for Tornado Preparedness

Enhancing safety during tornadoes involves thorough preparation and attention to detail. Here are three in-depth tips that individuals and businesses can implement:

  • Designate and Reinforce a Safe Room:
    • Identification: Choose a room or area in your building that is underground if possible, such as a basement, or an interior room on the lowest floor with no windows, like a bathroom or closet.
    • Reinforcement: Use materials such as 5/8-inch thick plywood or commercial-grade steel panels to reinforce the ceiling and walls. Installing impact-resistant doors and latches can also enhance the structural integrity of the safe room.
    • Supplies: Keep this room stocked with helmets or other head protection, mattresses or heavy blankets for additional cover, and sturdy shoes to protect against broken debris.
  • Create an Innovative Emergency Kit:
    • Essentials: Include the usual items such as water, non-perishable food, a first-aid kit, flashlights, and a whistle to signal for help.
    • Often Forgotten Items: Include copies of important documents (insurance information, birth certificates, home deeds), cash in small denominations, a manual can opener, and spare chargers for devices.
    • Creative Additions: Consider adding a solar phone charger or hand-crank radio that also serves as a charger and LED light. A laminated emergency contact list with local maps can also be invaluable, especially if electronic devices fail. Including a small fire extinguisher and a multi-tool can further enhance your preparedness.
  • Stay Informed and Strategically React:
    • Alert Systems: Sign up for multiple alert systems such as NOAA weather radios, which provide constant updates, and smartphone alert apps like FEMA or Weather Underground that can notify you minutes to hours before a tornado strikes, depending on the system and situation.
    • Pre-Tornado Actions: Use the warning time to move to your safe room, secure any outdoor objects that could become projectiles, and ensure all family members or employees are accounted for and wearing sturdy shoes and head protection.
    • Post-Tornado Actions: After a tornado, continue to use your NOAA radio or apps for updates on weather conditions, as additional storms may follow. Check in with your emergency contacts, assess and photograph damage for insurance purposes, and avoid downed power lines or structural damage until professionals can declare the area safe.

Leveraging Expert Knowledge for Enhanced Readiness

In times of crisis, the value of experience in emergency preparedness cannot be overstated. At TAL Global, we have decades of experience helping businesses stay prepared for emergencies like natural disasters, man made events, fire, and other critical incidents. Our comprehensive approach involves tailored solutions that fit the unique needs of each client, backed by proven results that ensure your organization is not only prepared, but also has the capacity to respond effectively under pressure.

If you’re looking to bolster your organization’s readiness or simply wish to review your current emergency procedures, you can always TALK TO US at no obligation. Discover how our expert guidance can help safeguard your assets and personnel in times of unexpected crises.

Midwest Tornadoes Aftermath: 3 Fundamental Emergency Preparedness TipsAbout TAL Global

TAL Global specializes in security consulting and risk management, offering tailored solutions for your organization. Our experts are recognized thought leaders in conducting comprehensive risk assessments, developing strategic security plans, and delivering engaging training programs.

With decades of experience and hundreds of successful interventions, we have consistently protected people and assets. Follow us on LinkedIn and YouTube for tips and strategies. For a deeper look into security insights, subscribe to our newsletter for focused discussions. You can also Talk To Us for more custom-made, expert solutions.

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