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Red Cross releases storm, tornado safety as spring storm season begins

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Published: Mar. 16, 2021 at 1:43 PM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Spring is right around the corner and the threat of strong spring storms begins across Tennessee.

March marks the beginning of the spring storm and tornado season.

Severe weather is expected to hit areas across the state in the coming days.

The American Red Cross of Tennessee Region released tips to keep your family safe during spring storm season:

  • KNOW YOUR COMMUNITY’S WARNING SYSTEM. There are different ways to notify people about tornadoes. Many communities use sirens intended for outdoor warning purposes.
  • IDENTIFY A SAFE PLACE IN YOUR HOME where you can gather – a basement, storm cellar or interior room on the lowest floor with no windows. In a high rise, pick a hallway in the center of the building as you may not have enough time to get to the lowest floor.
  • SECURE ITEMS OUTSIDE that can be picked up by the wind.
  • If you live in a mobile home, find a safe place in a nearby sturdy building. NO MOBILE HOME IS SAFE IN A TORNADO.
  • KNOW THE WARNINGS. A tornado watch means a tornado is possible. A tornado warning means a tornado has been sighted, on the ground, or indicated by weather radar. IMMEDIATELY GO TO YOUR SAFE PLACE.
  • WATCH FOR TORNADO DANGER SIGNS: dark, often greenish clouds, wall cloud, cloud of debris.
  • BRING YOUR ANIMALS INDOORS and maintain direct control of them.
  • IF YOU ARE OUTSIDE, look for the closest option to seek safe shelter in a basement, storm shelter or sturdy building.
  • IF YOU CAN’T WALK TO SHELTER, get into a vehicle, and try to drive to a safe shelter.
  • IF STRONG WINDS AND DEBRIS ARE OCCURRING, pull over and put your vehicle in park. Keep your seat belt on and engine running. Protect your head by leaning down below the windows, covering your head with your hands and a blanket or jacket.
  • STAY AWAY FROM BRIDGES AND HIGHWAY OVERPASSES.

“We want to make sure Tennesseans are Red Cross Ready to weather any storm,” said Joel Sullivan, regional executive director for the Tennessee Region. “There are simple steps you can take to prepare before a storm strikes. This includes making an emergency kit with enough supplies for three days of non-perishable food and water and having a First aid kit, with medications and medical items for everyone in the family.”

According to the Red Cross, it is important to prepare an emergency kit with the following items:

  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • Battery-powered or hand crank radios on hand
  • Copies of important documents (proof of address, deed/lease to home, passports, birth certificates, insurance policies)
  • Extra cash

After a tornado, the Red Cross said individuals should listen to the radio and local authorities for updated information. If you are trapped, the Red Cross advises you to cover your mouth with a cloth or mask to avoid breathing dust. Trapped individuals should try to end a text, bang on a pipe or wall, or use a whistle instead of shouting. Individuals should steer clear of fallen power lines or broken utility poles and avoid damaged buildings.

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