Cousins 5-year-old Colton and 10 year-old Codey stand in
front of what was once their home in Bethel Acres, Oklahoma. It was demolished
during the EF-5 tornado on May 20, 2013. Colton and Codey participated in the
Save the Children child friendly space and attend the YMCA summer camp funded
by Save the Children.
Tornadoes are more common in the United States than any
other country in the world. A tornado is a weather phenomenon that occurs when
warm air meets cold air and results in a spinning vortex of air. Tornadoes have
been documented in every state, although some regions and states are far more
prone to being affected.
“Disasters can cause fear, anxiety and stress in children
that can last long after the initial impact,” said Carolyn Miles, President
& CEO, Save the Children. “That’s why we have to do everything we can to help
children and families prepare and minimize the negative effects of traumatizing
events on children, who are the most vulnerable during emergencies, and provide
the support they need.”
We’re providing disaster preparedness tips to help parents across
America keep their children safe when tornadoes strike.
10 Tips for Keeping Children Safe in a Tornado
Talk about tornadoes. Spend time as a family discussing tornadoes.
Explain that a tornado is a natural event, like rain, and not anyone’s fault.
Use simple words that young children can understand.
Know the signs of
a tornado. Tornadoes can form quickly, and often before an official warning
can be issued. Watch for tornado danger signs: dark, often greenish clouds;
large hail, cloud of debris or funnel clouds; roaring noise. Teach these signs
to your children, should they have to respond without you.
caregivers’ disaster plans. If you child’s school or child care center is
in an area that could be hit by a tornado, learn its emergency plan. Review
these details with your child.
drills. As a family, practice what to do in a tornado. Have everyone go to
your safe place as quickly as possible. Practicing what to do helps reduce the
time it takes to respond in a true emergency.
DURING A TORNADO
Seek shelter. The
safest place in a home is the interior part of a basement. If possible, get
under something sturdy, like a heavy table. If you do not have a basement or
storm cellar, consider an interior room of your house without any windows, such
as a bathroom or closet. It’s important to stay on the lowest floor of your
If outside, seek
cover. If you are outside, in a vehicle or live in a mobile home, take
shelter. Seek a safe place in a designated shelter or nearby sturdy building.
If there is no safe building nearby, life flat in a low spot on the ground and
use your arms to protect your head and neck.
Wear a helmet for
extra protection. Families should always go to a tornado shelter or safe
room first. But, if one isn’t available and you must take cover outside,
wearing a helmet may provide additional protection.
FOLLOWING A TORNADO
Stay informed. After
a tornado, continue listening to the radio or TV for updates and instructions.
in recovery. Once it’s safe and the tornado has passed, include your
children in clean-up activities if it is safe to do so. Help people who are in
need of assistance while being cautious of dangers such as downed power lines
or damaged buildings.
children.Encourage your child to express feelings of fear, and listen
attentively when they do so. Show understanding and offer reassurance. Tell
your child the situation is not permanent and provide physical reassurance
through time spent together and displays of affection.
Save the Children believes every child deserves a future. In the United States and around the world, we give children a healthy start in life, the opportunity to learn and protection from harm. We do whatever it takes for children – every day and in times of crisis – transforming their lives and the future we share.
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