Documents You Need for Your Grab-And-Go Binder

Sometimes in emergency situations, people do not think how they normally would. We never know how we are going to react Why You Should Have A Grab-And-Go Binder for tornado emergencies in Oklahomain an emergency until it actually happens. In order to prepare for any situation, preparing a grab-and-go binder should be an important part of your family emergency plan. This binder should contain your family’s most important information and documents. 

With that being said, it’s time to get organized! We suggest adding the following to your grab-and-go binder:

Financial Documents

  • Copies of the front / back of credit cards.
  • Copies of house and car titles.
  • Copy of your will or living trust.
  • Names, addresses and phone numbers of all banks.
  • Other important documents related to employment or business.
  • Copies of your insurance policies (life, health, auto, homeowners).

Personal Documents

  • Names, addresses, phone numbers and email addresses of relatives and friends.
  • Copies of the following:
  • Marriage License
  • Birth Certificates
  • Drivers Licenses
  • CCW Permits
  • Pet Vaccine Records
  • Passports
  • Social Security Cards
  • List of firearm serial numbers.
  • Legal documents pertaining to child custody or adoption.
  • Recent photos of each family member and any pets.
  • Color photos of your house and each room in the house.
  • Photos of anything of particular value.
  • Military documents.
  • Diplomas and transcripts.
  • Appraisals.

Medical Documents

  • Copy of health insurance cards.
  • List of blood types for each family member.
  • Names, addresses and phone numbers of all doctors.
  • Medical histories of each family member.
  • Immunization records.
  • List of current prescriptions, dosage, and pharmacy contact information.

Once your grab-and-go binder is finished, you will have the peace of mind knowing that you and your family can concentrate on a speedy evacuation without trying to retrieve important documents. Remember that being prepared is your best chance for a quicker recovery in any disaster situation!

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7 Tornado Myths Debunked

Seven tornado myths debunked on Ground Zero SheltersWhat do you think of when tornados come to mind? Images of massive funnel clouds tearing over the Great Plains and destroying small towns and mobile homes? Well, the news is tornados vary greatly in size and strength and can happen anywhere, at any time of the year! 

Although freak accidents do happen ― and the most violent tornados can level a house ― most tornados are much weaker than the giant EF5s that most people imagine. There are tons of tornado myths out there, so it can be hard to know what advice to follow. Below we are debunking seven of the most common tornado myths out there.

  1. Taking shelter under an overpass will save you.
    We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again. You should never seek shelter under an overpass!Even if the overpass or bridge seems structurally sound, a wind tunnel can form as a tornado passes, pushing and pulling anything beneath the overpass directly into the path of the storm. Flying debris is a common cause of death or injury to those using this method of shelter.
  2. The size of a tornado is indicative of its destructive strength.
    The idea that size matters is absolutely false with a tornado. While the area a tornado covers may give it a larger appearance of strength, any size tornado can be deadly. In many cases, what are referred to as ‘rope’ tornados (smaller, narrower funneled storms) have often left the most destruction.
  3. Tornados might skip certain houses and buildings.
    The truth is that a house or building might be “missed” by the path of destruction, or may have withstood the storm to a larger degree in contrast to neighbors, thereby seeming to have been “saved”. Tornados can lift and retract and drop back to a path elsewhere. This behavior is unpredictable, and while in essence seems to avoid one building and destroy the next is not necessarily evidence of divine intervention.
  4. Tornados only pose a danger when they touch down.
    Onlookers may feel safe from a distance, often assuming that the actual funnel of a tornado is itself the tornado. In reality, the circular winds racing as much as 60 mph surrounding the funnel and extending well beyond its perceived breadth contain the most destructive power. Also, debris trapped and tossed along with the tornado pose greater risks of injury or death and can land great distances from the ‘center’ of the tornado.
  5. Certain terrain features can end or divert the path of a tornado.
    Many people have thought that bodies of water can create obstacles for tornados. In fact, some of the most violent tornados have actually formed on lakes and rivers. Again, a tornado can move over, across, and through anything and everything! 
  6. You will always see a funnel cloud.
    Don't assume that as long as there are no visible funnel clouds that you are safe. They can be hidden in heavy rains during the day or by the dark of night.
  7. The southwest corner of your house is the safest place to take cover.
    This myth stems from a meteorological theory published in 1887. It advised people that they should never take shelter in the NE corner of a room. The theory was published in several newspapers and became a popular belief. However, debris can be blown to any corner of a house!

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How Tornadoes are Formed

The Science of TornadosUnderstanding tornados is not just for the storm-chasers that bring us incredible footage from the front lines of deadly twisters. We are all affected by tornados at some time or another, and knowing more about the science of tornados can help all of us - even if it is only to empathize with those tragically affected by the destruction these unpredictable storms leave behind.

How Tornados Are Formed

In simple terms, tornados are formed during severe weather cycles that combine thunderstorms, colliding air masses (or fronts), a combination of cold and warm air, and high and low pressure changes.

When two or more moving air masses (cold or warm fronts) collide, strong weather will develop. Rain and hail are commonplace in a thunderstorm, but when the pressure and temperature changes are significant, high winds are concentrated and accelerated, and often result in a tornado.

As the colliding fronts intensify, specific regions of thunderstorms will develop a mesocyclone high up in the atmosphere. This massive rotation can be anywhere from a couple miles wide, to as much as 10 miles in diameter. This giant system is the tornado.


One interesting theory with mesocyclones is that the rapid changes in wind speed, and wind shear from rising warm air drawn up in to the mesocyclone system, cause horizontal tube-like vortexes to form within a severe thunderstorm. As the warm updraft continues, the tube-like vortex gradually turns vertical. As it becomes upright, the separation between the rising warm air and surrounding cold air concentrates, resulting in faster, more destructive wind speeds. This is also why we will often see intense hail storms surrounding a tornado. The cold air drops quickly, and the moisture condenses in to an ice storm -  which becomes a tell-tale sign that a tornado is imminent.

Try Experimenting  

Experimentation with miniature tornado models can help us to understand further what is happening when these unpredictable storms strike.Making a miniature tornado combines simple supplies from your hardware store and uses them to simulate and create a beautiful vortex that you can modify and manipulate as long as you keep your dry ice stocked!

A basic vent-fan acts as the mesocyclone, creating the rotation needed to make the miniature tornado. Then a pie tin or small pan at the base of the chamber holds hot water (replenished often), which represents warm surface temperatures. When dry ice is placed in the tin, or the hot water replenished over the dry ice, we can clearly see the varying effects of the rising warm air combined with the rotation of the vortex.

By manipulating the speed of the fan, the amount of dry ice, the temperature of the water, and the amount of air allowed in to the chamber, we can observe changes in the intensity, structure, and stability of our simulated tornado. Perhaps with these small changes and observations we can help our children understand more the elements that affect tornados, and the deadly weather we have seen recently.

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Stay Informed

Learn What Protective Measures to Take Before, During & After Tornados 

A common myth is that you don’t have to worry about tornados if you live in a relatively low risk area. That is false. You should always be on guard and prepared to protect your family. Tornado preparedness is not just for those in Tornado Alley. Most states will have tornados touch down in a lifetime. 

Knowing what to do before, during and after a tornado is a critical part of being prepared and may make all the difference when seconds count. 

Protective Measures 

Take a look at the basic measures you should take during a tornado:

  • Physical safety is a concern – you should seek immediate shelter.
  • Develop a family communications plan ahead of time before any storms strike.
  • Make an emergency supply kit.
  • Learn about receiving emergency alerts and local emergency plans for shelter, local emergency contacts, and local advance alerts and warnings.

Don’t wait any longer! We have shelters that will fit any type of house including above ground and below ground models. Request more information today!

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Tornado Preparedness Checklist

Tornados are nature’s most violent storms. Created from powerful thunderstorms, tornados can cause deaths and injuries as well as devastate a neighborhood in seconds. A tornado appears as a rotating, funnel-shaped cloud that extends from a thunderstorm to the ground with whirling winds that can reach 300 miles per hour.

Damage paths can be in excess of one mile wide and 50 miles long. Every state is at some risk from this hazard. Some tornados are clearly visible, while rain or nearby low-hanging clouds obscure others. Occasionally, tornados develop so rapidly that little, if any, advance warning is possible.

Before a tornado hits, the wind may die down and the air may become very still. A cloud of debris can mark the location of a tornado even if a funnel is not visible. Tornados generally occur near the trailing edge of a thunderstorm. It is not uncommon to see clear, sunlit skies behind a tornado.

What To Do Before A Tornado

  • To begin with, you should make an emergency kit as well as a family communication plan.
  • Listen to the weather on the radio or to television newscasts for the latest information. In any emergency, always listen to the instructions given by local emergency management officials.
  • Be alert to changing weather conditions & approaching storms.
  • Always look for the following danger signs:
    • Dark & Greenish Sky
    • Large Hail
    • Large, Dark & Low-Lying Clouds (particularly if rotating)
    • Loud Roar (similar to a freight train)

The most important thing to remember is if you see approaching storms or any of the danger signs, be prepared to take shelter immediately.

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Disaster Recovery Resources & Help

If disaster strikes, you may not have any other choice than to turn to your community or government. We have compiled a list of disaster recovery resources that can help you on your journey of getting your life back in order after a disaster like a tornado.

Your number one concern is the safety of your family, so in order to be prepared for an emergency or storm, request more information about our storm shelters – we are here to help.

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