Tornado kit may save your life

Wednesday, April 2nd 2008, 7:45 pm
By: News 9

By Charles Bassett, NEWS 9

Having a tornado plan can be the key to survival.

Shelters are one of the best ways to protect you. Also, what you take with you into the shelter could be a life saver.

State leaders are urging everyone to get prepared for tornado season. The state's renovated emergency operations center is now officially open.

"It was definitely time to make sure we had the operational area available so our partners could come down here and do a better job responding to all disasters and emergencies," Oklahoma Emergency Manager, Albert Ashwood said.

The center sits below the grounds of the State Capitol complex and can provide adequate protection for the staff.

But for those at home, you can still protect yourself even if you don't have shelter as secure.

"If you've got a safe room, that's easy," Emergency Management Spokesperson, Michelann Ooten said. "If you have an underground shelter, that's easy. But, not everyone has that, so go to that center most location. That puts as many walls between you and the outside and keeps you away from glass."

You should always have a survival kit in place inside your shelter. The kit should contain items to sustain you and all family members during and after a storm.

"First aid supplies, any medications that you might be taking or are on, gloves, masks to protect you from dust and things like that," EMSA Communications Director, Frank Gresh said. "That can get you out of an immediately critical situation."

Also flashlights, batteries, a radio, food for your pets, diapers and toys for small children are things you should include.

You also want to get important papers like insurance information, medical records. And check your survival kit on a regular basis.

"That's your life insurance policy right there in that kit to make sure you're going to continue to function and be able to get out of whatever situation you have," Gresh said.

Store you kit in a waterproof container and you can buy a kit at some stores for about $40.

Despite the number of disasters we've had in the state, EMSA tells said many of the victims don't have survival kits.