(Editor’s note: In past years The Purcell Register has published tornado safety prior to the season. This year, however, Mother Nature tricked everyone with a February tornado.)
It’s never too soon to get prepared for the wild and sometimes wicked spring weather in Oklahoma.
It’s best to be in a storm shelter.
Residents are reminded there are no public shelters in Purcell.
If you don’t have a shelter it’s best to go to the inner most room of you home on the lowest level and cover up with blankets.
It is possible to survive even in an EF5 tornado. But first, remember, there are no public storm shelters in Purcell.
McClain County is smack in the middle of Tornado Alley so keeping advised is essential for watches and warnings.
According to FEMA, these are the steps to take and things to not do:
Keep cell phones charged and report to authorities if you have a shelter so they can search for you in case of an event.
Prepare now. Know your area’s tornado risk. In the U.S., the Midwest and the Southeast have a greater risk for tornadoes.
Know the signs of a tornado, including a rotating, funnel-shaped cloud, an approaching cloud of debris or a loud roar—similar to a freight train.
Sign up for your community’s warning system. In McClain County, contact McClain County Emergency Management at 288-2064 or online at http://mcclain-co-ok.us/offices/emergency-management/ and sign up for Everbridge.
The Emergency Alert System (EAS) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio also provide emergency alerts. If your community has sirens, then become familiar with the warning tone.
Pay attention to weather reports. Meteorologists can predict when conditions might be right for a tornado.
Identify and practice going to a safe shelter in the event of high winds, such as a safe room or storm shelter. The next best protection is a small, interior, windowless room on the lowest level of a sturdy building.
Take additional cover by shielding your head and neck with your arms and putting materials such as furniture and blankets around you.
Listen to EAS, NOAA Weather Radio, or local alerting systems for current emergency information and instructions.
Do not try to outrun a tornado in a vehicle. If you are in a car or outdoors and cannot get to a building, cover your head and neck with your arms and cover your body with a coat or blanket, if possible.
Save your phone calls for emergencies. Phone systems are often down or busy after a disaster. Use text messaging or social media to communicate with family and friends.
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