Frank Marino, CSP •

Tornado Emergency Action Plan

As barn dwelling equestrians it is our responsibility to come up with an emergency tornado action plan to take care of ourselves, our families and our horses— although for some of us perhaps not in that particular order. A tornado can strike at any time of year, but the most favorable conditions p from April to July for the Mid-Western States. It is especially important in this time of year to pay attention to weather patterns. Understand that local emergency management teams will issue Tornado Watch and Tornado Warning information. A Tornado Watch indicates tornadoes are possible. In the event of a Tornado Watch it is important to stay alert to the latest weather information and be prepared to enact your emergency action plan. If you see rotating, funnel shaped clouds, report your location to law enforcement in order for the local emergency management team to issue a Tornado Warning. A Tornado Warning indicates a tornado has been sited in your area. In the event of a Tornado Warning, your emergency action plan should be conducted. The following steps will detail necessary steps to take before, during and after a tornado emergency.

Before a Tornado

  • Have on hand a battery or generator powered weather alert radio and make use of Specific Area Message Encoding (SAME) technology that automatically alerts you when a watch or warning is issued for your county. Smart phone apps make use of this advanced warning technology. We recommend the Red Cross app for advanced tornado warnings.
  • Record your assets regularly, quick videos stored on the cloud are easily produced and readily available. Insurance policies should also be regularly reviewed and updated as new structures, trailers, equipment and supplies are acquired.
  • Microchip your horses and maintain current lists of all your animals. A list is much more reliable than your memory in emergency situations. Copies of identification, photographs, and veterinary records should be stored in a safe place.
  • Keep a well stocked first-aid kit on hand.
  • Determine the best place to seek shelter. Underground windowless areas are best.
  • Keep emergency contact numbers posted.

During a Tornado

  • Go immediately to your pre determined shelter. Under stairs, work benches or heavy furniture will be the best locations.
  • Monitor your radio for any news alerts.

After a Tornado

  • Exit damaged buildings. Re-enter only if absolutely necessary using great caution. Have the damaged building inspected by a structural engineer to make sure it is safe to occupy.
  • Contact your local emergency management agency for special information about where to go to get assistance for housing, clothing and food. Programs are available to help you cope with the stress of the disaster.
  • Use extreme care in areas of downed power lines or natural gas leaks.
  • Wear adequate footwear to avoid cuts from broken glass or nails protruding from boards.
  • Check for injured victims. Render first aid if necessary. Do not attempt to move severely injured victims unless absolutely necessary. Wait for emergency medical assistance to arrive.
  • Check on neighbors or relatives who may require special assistance.
  • Take photos or video of the damage to your home and property, and report it to the local emergency management agency.
  • If unaffected by the tornado, stay out of the damaged area until local officials allow entry.

The importance of preventative safety remains paramount. Daily inspections of the environment your horses live in goes a long way in preventing emergencies. We at Safety Check Inc. are trained in hazard analysis and accident prevention. For an equine safety consultation or barn walkthrough, please feel free to contact us at (815) 475-9991.

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