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In this week’s column I am going to urge readers to take an action step. Now. As in, as soon as you read this article. Because if you don’t do it now, you will not be prepared when disaster strikes.

You may have seen the news this week about severe tornados striking other parts of the country and leaving multiple people dead or injured in their tracks.  Many who escaped injury are left with dealing with the destruction of their homes.

Tornadoes have hit our area several times in the past with severe consequences.  Tornadoes will hit here again.  It may be next week, next month or next year, but they will occur again.  If you wait to deal with preparing for disaster later, you will simply not do it.

Disaster may not come in the form of a tornado.  Severe storms can cause significant damage and injuries.  Power outages during severe weather can cause illness, injury and death.  There are many reasons to take the time to prepare for a disruption of normal life.

Tornadoes represent the most dangerous threats to many because of the powerful wind and destruction as well as the fact that they appear suddenly with little or no warning. They can be particularly deadly when they strike in the middle of the night.

Although tornadoes often form quickly and unpredictably, thankfully weather tracking systems are very sophisticated and capable of warning us of the possibility of a tornado or letting us know a tornado has been spotted nearby.

1. One of the first things recommended for anyone is to have a good weather radio.  Don’t rush out and buy the cheap ones that are stacked at the end of the aisle in big-box store.  Those weather radios are usually almost useless.  The reason is that the cheap weather radios often have little ability to preset the types of alarms that you want to hear, so they sound the alarm on every storm that pops up.  After a couple of times of being awakened due to a harmless thunderstorm in the middle of the night, people turn the radio off.  It is critically important that your weather radio be able to be set to this county only, (S.A.M.E. technology) and be able to filter alarms so that you can set it to alarm just for the types of threats that are important.  In my home I have one set to alarm just for tornado watches and warnings in my area.  I don’t want to be awakened because a storm is passing through.  If you want a suggestion on the type to buy, email me.

2. The second recommendation is to have a plan.  Once you become aware of a tornado or other threat, what exactly will you do?  The radio and television stations will tell you, “Go to your safe place.”  Where is your safe place?  Is it ready?  Is it clear?  Is it really safe? Can you make it safer?  Do you have any provisions for comfort such as pillow or blankets?  Food or water? Can you take your phone or radio with you so you can hear updates or check the internet?  Could you call for help if needed?

3. The third recommendation is to discuss your plan with your entire family so everyone knows what to do in case of an emergency.  This avoids panic and wasted time when seconds count.  Especially be clear about what your children should do.  Make sure they have simple, clear instructions.  Practice the plan so that everyone knows it.  Practice will uncover unexpected problems.

Bonus Tip: There are more excellent suggestions on the internet at https://www.ready.gov/tornadoes.  This site has prepared suggestions for a wide variety of circumstances such as what to do when traveling during a tornado threat.

Taking the time now to go through the steps listed above can certainly help prepare you for the threat of tornado and other natural disasters.  It is not expensive to plan ahead and make a pln for what you and your family will do in the event of a tornado.

It may be important to discuss these concepts at your workplace as well, or possibly church or other gathering places. 

Dr. Mark Kestner is a chiropractor in Murfreesboro. His office is at 1435 NW Broad St. Contact him at mkestner@DrKestner.com

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