Oklahoma Tornadoes a Reminder to Be Prepared06/04/13
TUESDAY, June 4 (HealthDay News) -- The recent tornadoes that
devastated parts of Oklahoma, killing scores, should serve as a sad
reminder that you need to prepare for a natural disaster or severe
weather, experts say.
Regardless of where they live, people often disregard the
potential of natural dangers, said one expert. Staying informed and
preparing for worst-case scenarios, however, can help residents of
any city brace for the unexpected.
"When the probability of an event occurring is small and there is a lesser chance you will be affected if that event occurs, people become complacent," Lisa McCormick, an assistant professor in the department of health care organization and policy at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, said in a university news release. "False alarms have the same effect."
McCormick said, however, that media coverage of natural
disasters like the recent tornadoes can help increase people's
sensitivity to such events.
"Research has shown that people become more aware of the need to be prepared after events occur, even if the event didn't occur in their own community," McCormick said. "If the event is catastrophic, there is more media coverage for a longer period of time, reinforcing the need to be prepared."
Although no preparedness plan will guarantee safety from a
tornado or other extreme event, McCormick advised people to take
the following steps to be ready for the unexpected:
- Make a plan.Know what to do if a tornado warning is issued
long before it actually happens. If you are in a house, the
basement or an interior bathroom on the lowest floor with no
windows is the safest place to go. For those in a high-rise
apartment building, the lowest floor of the building is best.
People who live in trailers should identify the nearest tornado
shelter, church with a basement or other building they can use for
- Put together a disaster-preparedness kit.When natural
disasters strike, access to food, water or electricity may be
interrupted for an extended period of time. Gather basic supplies,
including a first-aid kit and a battery-powered radio.
- Stay informed.Even if power is lost, a battery-powered radio
will keep you informed of weather alerts. It's also a good idea to
learn about the warning systems in your community.
- Focus on children.It's important to get up to speed on the
disaster plans in place at your children's school or daycare
facility. Ask about evacuation policies and procedures, including
how you will be notified if an evacuation occurs. Be sure to talk
to your children about what they should do if they are at home when
a tornado warning is issued, and practice the plan.
- Protect your head.Be sure to keep helmets on hand for both
children and adults to prevent head injuries. Any type of helmet
can be used, provided it was designed to minimize damage due to
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides
more information on
preparedness for natural disasters...d severe weather.
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Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.