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>> Talk with your kids about tornado safety and preparation

Reassuring your children ahead of a dangerous storm situation

No doubt your family's kids have seen the news of storm warnings or possible dangerous weather conditions. Their faces tell the tale as they seek parent's reassurance that all will be well. That's why verbal and physical preparation is important in relating to kids about the possibilities of tornadoes or dangerous storms and what procedures your family will take in such an event will go a long way in giving them peace of mind as well as helping to ensure their safety.

Since Spring and Summer have arrived, and the possibility of heavy storms and dangerous weather will be here for some time, consider teaching your kids some general home safety procedures and be prepared for the possibility of a tornado. For example, keeping a listening ear and watchful eye for local news broadcast or online sources such as the NOAA or for up-to-the-minute weather forecasts.

If a tornado possibility is mentioned near or around your area, remember to help the kids understand the terminology for the difference between a tornado watch and a tornado warning. A tornado watch is an indication that the surrounding weather conditions are ripe for a possible tornado to form. A tornado warning indicates that one or more tornadoes have been identified by a local storm spotter or weather radar. Your local news and web-based sources will be able to provide the resources from storm spotters and others to keep you informed.

Other ways to prepare your kids would include some instruction and planning on what to do and what to have on hand in the event of a storm and the need to establish a meeting place or arrive at your storm shelter. For example, let them help in preparing a list of necessary items such as water, blankets, batteries for powered radio, first aid kit, and phone. Helping them create a process helps gain their buy in and gives them reassurance during a stressful situation. Additionally, discuss options where to meet if they're not at home, what safety processes they should be aware of during a natural disaster or how to reach a family member during a variety of situations. If disaster does strike, having a formulated plan that your kids can rely on will help them adjust and make better decisions to handle a stressful situation.

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