Remain calm during the storm

Tornado warnings are serious

Houses and buildings reduced to scraps. Trees stripped of their leaves and knocked down like bowling pins. People wandering throughout the ruins looking for anything they can salvage from the wreckage. Tornadoes touch down within minutes and change lives in an instant.

Just four hours away down Highway 44, Joplin, MO continues to recover from its devastating tornado in 2012.

March, April and May are the most popular for tornado risks according to But with such little warning, preparedness needs to be second-nature.

“I just try to cover myself and protect my neck and head like they taught us at school in the hallway,” Lindsey Bowie (9) said.

Being prepared requires much more.

Once the sirens sound, keep the news on, and get to the basement or storm cellar as quickly as possible. While basements and storm cellars are not an option for everyone, being in an interior room with no windows will suffice.

If at school or workplace when the sirens sound, move to an appointed shelter area, one where there are no windows, a low, interior room.

As the sirens drone on, be sure to have all supplies needed in case of a power outage or flying debris: flashlights, battery operated weather radio, etc.

“We do have water and supplies down there in case we would get stuck down there,” Mrs. Jo Pinnell, mother of three, said. “And we always wear our shoes: tennis shoes or closed toed.

Wearing closed-toe shoes or tennis shoes is critical in case of a quick escape.

“I bring a helmet so I don’t get debris on me,” Mya Wilken (9) said.

Flying debris is a dangerous component that comes along with all tornadoes, and being protected from it is crucial.

Don’t be confused: tornado warnings and tornado watches are two different things. Tornado warning means that a tornado has been sighted near your area, go some place safe. Tornado watch means weather conditions are in favor of a tornado developing, so be prepared.

On the occasion that a tornado does touch down close by, being able to cover yourself and protect yourself from any flying debris is vital.

“Yeah, I learned here at school,” Cheyanne Parker (9) said. “You get down by a wall, but not by the windows because that’s not a good idea and you get down and cover your neck with your hands.”

The safest measure to ensure that all tornado threats are gone is to stay in the basement, storm cellar, etc. and watch or listen to the local news and wait until given the complete all clear.

Do not leave the basement, storm cellar, etc.  when the sirens turn off, this is not a clear signal that the threat is diminished.

Sixty people die each year from tornadoes, according to

So, it’s a Friday evening, and the words “Tornado warning for the following cities: Ballwin, Chesterfield, Clarkson Valley, Ellisville, Eureka, Fenton, Wildwood and Winchester” flash up on your TV screen. What do you do?