A tornado can be a scary thing. As North Texans are so used to listening to those wonderful sirens every time a storm passes over, we have grown fairly accustomed to the blaring horns every spring. While every family has their routine when a tornado siren goes off during a storm, we still want to give a brief overview of some safety measures to take for those who may be new to the area and aren’t aware of what to do when the dreaded sirens go off.
1. Don’t Panic. A tornado siren is meant to warn individuals of possible danger. Danger is a stressful term to hear, but keeping your cool is important for making rational decisions in potentially dangerous situations.
2. Have an action plan. Sirens alert for possible danger. When we are alerted of possible danger, having an action plan is necessary. The sirens are specifically meant for people who are outdoors when a storm is taking a dangerous turn, so the first thing to do is to seek shelter. Find a sturdy structure that is walled and roofed. Always avoid windows during a severe storm as shattered glass can be particularly dangerous. In your home, find a closet or bathroom with minimal hazardous objects, and teach your family to calmly make their way to that room should the sirens ever go off. Practice a few times so that everyone has the routine down should an event occur.
3. Keep an eye on the weather report. Whether you have a radio, TV, or even your phone playing the local weather, keep it running until the storm passes. This will keep you updated on the storm’s progression and if your area is cleared yet.
Again, do not panic. A tornado siren is not always indicative that a tornado has touched down near you. It can go off for a number of reasons such as, large hail in the area, strong winds, a funnel cloud reported in the area, or a Tornado Warning issued by the National Weather Service. The most important thing is to remain indoors as a storm passes.
Practice your siren routine with your family and remember, keep calm. You’re in North Texas after all, were used to it!