It happens every year, but are you prepared?
“We don’t really have a safety plan. I mean, other than just knowing to get the kids into the basement, but if one actually hit and caused damage, or took the power out… stuff like that, I don’t really know what to do” says Jennifer Frost, new Sioux City parent.
For Iowans, it’s second nature, an instinct…sirens sound and you head into the basement, helmets on and heads covered…but for the Frosts’, it’s a whole new ball game. Fellow New Yorkers, the Frosts’ just moved to Iowa in November and this is their first severe weather season.
So I sat down with the family, answered any questions they had about the science behind tornadoes, and together, we came up with a tornado safety plan…. with big help from the little Frosts’: Carson, Chelsea, and Klara.
The first step…. understanding the difference between a Watch and a Warning. A Watch means conditions are favorable for severe thunderstorms or tornadoes, that is your time to make sure your safe place and kit is ready in case a warning is issued. A Warning urges you to take action because dangerous weather is either happening now or headed your way.
“If there’s a warning, we want to make sure we have all of our things and maybe these are some of the things that you could help us gather up” says Jennifer Frost, new Sioux City parent.
Do you have a tornado safety kit? The Frosts’ do now! After we found a safe underground, interior room away from windows in their basement, the Frosts’ and I got a bin together with supplies to stay in that safe room.
Non perishable food items, water, and a first aid kit were at the top of the list, along with a flashlight and batteries.
The kids also picked a few of their favorite board games and books so that they would have something to do in a prolonged event. Jennifer thought it was a great idea to help the kids stay calm in an emergency situation too…. the exact purpose of our practice drill.
“We practice being prepared for severe weather like tornadoes so that we can be prepared and that if one happened, big if one happened, we would know what to do” says Jennifer Frost, new Sioux City parent.
And our tornado drill did just that… A successful morning, although the kids were worried at first, they did a great job finding a safe place, covering their heads, and preparing their tornado safety kit.
“It just gives them basic life skills, I mean, knowing what’s appropriate and that you do need to be prepared, in any situation, whether it’s severe or daily life” says Jennifer Frost, new Sioux City parent.
“We are tornado ready!!” says the Frosts’ with Meteorologist Elisa Raffa.
The kids felt much better when we were done with the drill, they felt ready and prepared. But these drills are not just useful to new Siouxlanders. Everyone should have a safe place and tornado safety kit ready every season. You never know when a tornado will spin up in your area.
And for Rob and Jennifer, the lesson doesn’t end with the tornado safety plan. Jennifer has been reviewing forecasts and weather preparedness with the kids every day, for situations even as simple as… ‘Do we need an umbrella and rain boots today?’
“Even just simple things of being prepared for the day, ok it’s raining outside… especially with the little ones, 3 and 5 years old…’How are we prepared for the day?’ Because kids would wear flip flops in the snow if you let them” says Jennifer Frost, new Sioux City parent.
Jennifer has also emphasized needing water for outdoor soccer practice in warm weather, and needing to put food aside for the tornado safety kit if a watch is likely to be issued.