How to Prepare Your Kids for Tornados and Natural Disasters

image of sesame street charactersSpring is a season of rejuvenation and beauty, particularly in Oklahoma City and Tulsa, OK. However, with spring comes the advent of high storm season. During this time, tornado preparedness becomes a family affair. It's critical to educate your kids about tornado safety procedures to mitigate chaos and ensure their safety in the event of a tornado.

Open Communication: The Key to Family Safety During Tornado Warnings

Understanding the difference between a tornado watch and a tornado warning is an essential part of tornado education for children. A tornado watch signifies that the conditions are ripe for a tornado and thus requires keen vigilance. A tornado warning, on the other hand, means that a tornado has been spotted, either visually or via weather radar, requiring immediate protective action. Open communication plays a crucial role in your tornado family plan, especially during a tornado warning. Clarify to your children what these terms mean and rehearse what actions should be taken in each scenario. This will not only prepare them but also reduce panic during a tornado event. Equip your kids with knowledge, like where your family's disaster recovery plan is located and the contents of your emergency kit. Remember, clarity and readiness can go a long way in ensuring your family's safety during a tornado. At Ground Zero Shelters, we firmly believe that tornado preparedness is an ongoing conversation and practice. Continue to educate your children and reinforce the safety measures in place. With comprehensive planning and continuous dialogue, we can ensure our kids are prepared to respond to tornados and other natural disasters confidently and calmly.

  • Emergency Kit: Your disaster supply kit should encompass essentials like water, snacks, blankets, medicines, and a battery-powered radio, among others.
  • Emergency Contact List: Collaborate with your kids to devise an emergency contact list. Discuss the people who should be included, their phone numbers, and most importantly, your cell numbers, should you ever be separated during an emergency situation.
  • Emergency Meeting Place: Establish a common meeting place to reunite after a disaster strikes. This could be a specific landmark, a neighbor's house, or any location easily accessible by your child. This information can be lifesaving, not only during tornados but other disasters as well.

Educating Your Kids About Tornados and Natural Disasters

Open conversations about tornados and other natural disasters are key components of tornado preparedness. Empower your children with knowledge; this means teaching them the safest places in your home during a tornado warning - typically the lowest level, far from windows. Discuss your tornado family plan extensively, including what steps they should take if you're separated during a storm and how to reach you or other designated emergency contacts.Handling the aftermath of a disaster is equally crucial. Encourage questions and feelings about tornados, helping your children process their emotions to mitigate fear and anxiety. Remember, knowledge isn't just power—it's safety. Ground Zero Shelters also recommends using additional resources for tornado education. FEMA’s website, for instance, offers a wealth of information geared towards kids. Simply search "tornado safety for kids" to find age-appropriate tips, advice, and learning tools that can aid your disaster recovery plan. Together, we can ensure our children are equipped with the knowledge they need to stay safe during tornados and other natural disasters.

Partnering with Ground Zero Shelters for Tornado Preparedness

As residents of Oklahoma City and Tulsa, we understand the risks that come with living in Tornado Alley. At Ground Zero Shelters, we're committed to helping you safeguard your family by offering the power of preparation. We design storm shelters that withstand the harsh conditions of tornados, providing a secure refuge for your family during a storm. These robust shelters are part of a comprehensive tornado family plan designed to foster confidence and safety when the sky turns dark. We extend our services beyond providing physically secure spaces. We recognize that the best defense is a well-rounded approach to tornado preparedness that includes education and planning. Our resources will guide you in developing a disaster recovery plan tailored to your family's needs, ensuring that even the youngest members understand their role during a tornado event. From understanding the difference between a tornado watch and warning to knowing the items essential for an emergency kit, our tornado education resources ensure you're equipped with the necessary knowledge to navigate a tornado safely. Contact Ground Zero Shelters today to explore our storm shelters and access our comprehensive resources. When it comes to tornado preparedness, we're truly in this together!

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Importance of Tornado Preparedness in Tornado Alley

image of yellow sign in a storm saying Are You Ready? for Tornado Preparedness in OklahomaA tornado can have winds up to an incredible 300 mph and have a path of up to 50 miles! They strike with little warning, so we cannot stress enough how important it is to prepare! Below we give you tips as to what to do before, during and after a tornado hits.

Know How to Spot a Tornado

Do you know your tornado warning signs? The first thing you should learn is how to identify a tornado and understand the following facts:

  • Can happen any time of year.
  • Can appear transparent until they pick up dust and debris.
  • Usually have the following warning signs:
  • Dark (sometimes greenish) sky
  • Large hail
  • A large, dark, low-lying cloud
  • A loud roar, similar to a freight train

Prepare Your Home & Family

There is not a house out there that can withstand a direct hit from a tornado, but shoring up your house can help it survive if it's in the tornado's path. Just as important is having a safe space for your family to hunker down during the tornado. This includes basements, outdoor underground shelters, safe rooms and garage shelters. Below are some tips you should use as an emergency preparedness guideline.

  • Make a plan. Make sure family members know what to do in case of a tornado, including designating an emergency meeting spot and deciding who takes charge of family pets.
  • Show adult and teen family members where electrical, gas and water shut-offs are located and how to turn them off. Make sure the proper tools are at the ready.

Have a well-stocked first aid kit, flashlights and plenty of batteries ready to go in your shelter (see our tornado shelter supply checklist here).

  • Install impact-resistant windows.
  • Make certain your doors have at least three hinges and a deadbolt lock with a bolt at least 1 inch long.
  • Install permanent wood or metal stiffeners on your garage door. Or contact the door manufacturer about temporary supports you can easily attach and remove.
  • Make sure your roof covering and sheathing beneath it can resist high winds.
  • Consider replacing gravel and rock landscaping with mulch or shredded bark, which can be less deadly in high winds.
  • Trim trees and shrubbery. Pay particular attention to weak or dead branches that could fall on your home.

What To Do Before Or During A Tornado

You should do the following if conditions are right for a tornado in your area:

  • Monitor local radio and television for a tornado announcement and instructions.
  • Turn off all utilities.
  • If it’s safe, move outdoor furniture and grills inside. They can be deadly flying debris.
  • Take shelter!
  • If you don’t have a storm shelter or basement, lean a mattress against the wall of the room you're in.
  • Don't open your windows. Keep the wind and rain outside.
  • Have flashlights ready to go.
  • If you’re in a mobile home, find shelter elsewhere.
  • If you’re in your vehicle, get out and head for a sturdy building. If one is not near, a ditch can provide shelter.
  • Don't take shelter under a bridge or overpass!

What To Do After A Tornado

If a tornado does take place, and you were forced to leave your home – or if it has been severely damaged from the tornado – wait for authorities to give the all-clear to re-enter. Then do the following:

  • Check for structural damage before going inside.
  • If it is dark, use a flashlight (NOT matches, candles or lighters).
  • Listen for reports to see when drinking water is safe.
  • Don’t turn your power on until an electrician has inspected your system.
  • Begin documenting your damage claim by taking an inventory of your damaged or destroyed belongings and gathering your insurance policy documents.
  • Use a camera to photograph any damage.
  • Once you’ve gathered necessary documents and evidence of your claim, contact your insurance company or agent.

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How to Travel Safely During Tornado Season

Travel Safely During Tornado SeasonFor all you business travelers out there - do you know what to do if you're on the road and tornado sirens go off? Developing some emergency weather know-how ahead of time can help protect you and your co-workers while traveling.

Tornado Alley is considered the most tornado-prone region in the country. However; it is important to remember that tornados can occur in almost any state. The months of April through June are considered the height of tornado season in most places.

Smart business travelers make it a standard practice during high storm season to check out tornado warnings and watches. The brief amount of time this takes can make the difference between being caught in tornado-level winds and being safe in a secure shelter.

Experienced travelers who have been through tornado watches and warnings may be able to recognize a tornado-ready sky. It is often tinted green and the atmosphere is usually humid and heavy.

But in order to ensure severe weather preparedness, every traveler should take the time to watch the news and weather forecast, go to weather sites online or look for smart phone apps that show the weather at a glance. It also is smart to get in the habit of monitoring severe weather advisories. The NOAA's National Weather Service Office of Climate, Water and Weather Services is a great place to start. 

Below are some other tips on how to stay safe from severe storms while traveling. 

If you are at a hotel:

  • Do not take shelter in areas under free-spanning roofs that aren't supported by interior columns or pillars.
  • If there is no basement or designated safe area, take shelter in interior hallways or rooms on the lowest floor possible.
  • Stay away from windows and outside walls.
  • Ask at check-in about the procedure if there's a tornado warning.
  • Don't delay in going to the pre-designated shelter area.

On the road:

  • If conditions appear right for a tornado, do not drive!
  • Do not ignore the signs - tune in to weather alerts if skies look threatening and it is humid, windy and hot.
  • If it's possible to get lower than the level of the roadway, take shelter in a low-lying area but be aware it may flood.
  • If there's no shelter, park - but not in a traffic lane. Stay in your car with your seat belt fastened. If debris is blowing by, keep your head below window level and covered.
  • Do not try to out-drive severe weather. Tornados often change direction.
  • Stay away from trees and cars that can become flying debris.
  • Take shelter in a sturdy building, preferably where you can move to the basement level. Move away from windows.
  • Avoid highway overpasses - despite popular myth, they aren't safe refuge. Wind moving through them actually may increase in speed!

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Storm Shelter Warranties

What is the warranty policy? Some may offer 5-10 years, others a lifetime. What is a good warranty?

Ground Zero has been installing storm shelters for over 10 years and we have a lifetime warranty that covers against leaking, floating, or manufacturing defects on all underground or above ground garage units. Remember, a lifetime warranty is only good as long as the company is around to honor it.

Don’t wait any longer – get a storm shelter installed today from Ground Zero. You can also request more information with any further questions.

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Storm Shelter Ventilation

What type of ventilation do storm shelters have?

Ground Zero’s tornado shelters have different ventilation depending on the model. Our underground garage units have 360 degrees of passive ventilation around the back lid / cover (it is lifted up slightly to provide adequate ventilation). It also has two hand holes that can work as vents as well. The above ground safe rooms have two vent holes cut into the door that allows air to flow easily as well as ventilation around the entire door. Our outside underground concrete units come with a 6” wind turbine and a 6” vent for ventilation.

Don’t wait any longer! Keep your family safe by ordering a storm shelter today.

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Little Rock Safe Room & Above Ground Shelters

We're focused on helping families stay safe during storms and tornadoes because our family has been impacted by tornadoes. We live and work in areas that suffer from major storms and tornadoes, and four generations of our family have been involved in the storm shelter business. We've been installing safe rooms in the Little Rock area for years, which means that our installers have the experience and knowledge of the area that you expect!

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