Severe storms that produce tornadoes, strong wind gusts, lightning strikes, flash floods and other damaging effects can trigger emotional distress in those that experience them: survivors in impacted areas (including children and teens), loved ones of victims, those who have suffered damaged to or who have lost completely residential or business property, and first responders, rescue & recovery workers are all at risk.
Feelings such as overwhelming anxiety, constant worrying, trouble sleeping and other depression-like symptoms are common responses to disasters and traumatic events (before, during and after the event), although reactions can vary from person-to-person. Most people that experience disasters are able to 'bounce back' in a short period of time, but others may need additional support in order to cope and move forward on the path of recovery.
Important Measures to Take
Take a few minutes with your family to develop a tornado emergency plan. Sketch a floor plan of where you live, or walk through each room and discuss where and how to seek shelter.
Show a second way to exit from each room or area. If you need special equipment, such as a rope ladder, mark where it is located.
Make sure everyone understands the siren warning system, if there's such a system in your area.
Mark where your first-aid kit and fire extinguishers are located.
Mark where the utility switches or valves are located so they can be turned off-if time permits-in an emergency.
Teach your family how to administer basic first aid, how to use a fire extinguisher, and how and when to turn off water, gas, and electricity in your home.
Make sure your children know-
What a tornado is
What tornado watches and warnings are
What county or parish they live in (warnings are issued by county or parish)
Extra Measures for People with Special Needs
Write down your specific needs, limitations, capabilities, and medications. Keep this list near you always-perhaps in your purse or wallet.
Find someone nearby (a spouse, roommate, friend, neighbor, relative, or co-worker) who will agree to assist you in case of an emergency. Give him or her a copy of your list. You may also want to provide a spare key to your home, or directions to find a key.
Keep aware of weather conditions through whatever means are accessible to you. Some options are closed captioning or scrolled warnings on TV, radio bulletins, or call-in weather information lines.
Practicing Your Emergency Plan
Conduct drills and ask questions to make sure your family remembers information on tornado safety, particularly how to recognize hazardous weather conditions and how to take shelter.
Writing down Important Information
Make a list of important information. Include these on your list:
Important telephone numbers, such as emergency (police and fire), paramedics, and medical centers.
Names, addresses, and telephone numbers of your insurance agents, including policy types and numbers.
Telephone numbers of the electric, gas, and water companies.
Names and telephone numbers of neighbors.
Name and telephone number of your landlord or property manager.
Important medical information (for example, allergies, regular medications, and brief medical history).
Year, model, license, and identification numbers of your vehicles (automobiles, boats, and RVs).
Bank's or credit union's telephone number, and your account numbers.
Radio and television broadcast stations to tune to for emergency broadcast information
The Disaster Distress Helpline provides year-round, 24/7 phone- and text-based crisis counseling to anyone who is experiencing emotional distress related to natural or human-caused disasters within the U.S. and territories.
Disaster Distress Helpline
Text TalkWithUs to 66746
TTY for Deaf/Hearing Impaired: