Water, nonperishable food, a flashlight and first aid kit are just some of the items needed in the family emergency kit in case of a natural disaster.
Spring is near, which means it is the beginning of tornado season for the southern states, with the peak starting in March and ending in August, said Terry Wydra, the installation emergency manager for Fort Benning. And it’s important for Soldiers and their families to prepare now.
“At least have a plan on what you would do and hopefully you will never have to use it,” said Tina Sandell, operations specialist. “But it’s better to be prepared and not use it than try to figure it out after the fact.”
Tornadoes can strike anytime and anywhere, as seen with the Dec. 31 tornado that caused an estimated $90 million in structural damage at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo. Although there were no serious injuries or deaths, the EF-3 tornado displaced 102 families.
If a tornado were to strike, do you know what to do?
Sandell said she wanted to stress the importance of knowing the difference between a tornado watch and a tornado warning. According to the Ready Army website, a tornado watch is when the conditions are appropriate for a tornado to develop. Under these conditions, be sure to stay tuned to the radio or television for more information and instructions. A tornado warning means there has been a tornado sighted in your area and it’s important to take shelter immediately.
Fort Benning has a “Giant Voice” mass warning system that alerts individuals on post of impending severe weather. It is routinely tested every Saturday at noon.
The Ready Army’s motto is “Get a kit. Make a plan. Be informed.” The website lists items most needed in emergency kits. Supplies should last at least three days. The best items to have are ones that can be reused and have multiple uses, according to the website. Be sure to have a family emergency plan, which includes how to keep in contact with family members. Practice the plan at least twice a year. And finally be informed about the community’s notifications and emergency actions such as mass warning systems. For more information on how to be prepared, visit www.ready.army.mil.