Search results for: 'tornadoes'

  • Preparing Your Business for Tornadoes

    Moore, Oklahoma Tornado on Ground Fox40

    In May of 2013, a deadly tornado leveled the town of Moore, OK. While experts are calling 2015 a slow year for tornadoes so far, the unfortunate residents of Moore have already seen their fair share. Last month, several smaller tornadoes barreled through the same town—the same intersection, even!—as two years ago.

     

    Besides personal loss, one of the most devastating affects of a tornado is the damage sustained by a community’s economy and infrastructure. When the 2013 twister hit, Moore lost more than buildings; access to stores was cut off, inventory was damaged, services were interrupted, employees lost their workplaces (and, consequently, their jobs), and potential customers had much more to worry about than weekly sales. Not only that, but in their Disaster Impact Report, Dun & Bradstreet noted that half of Moore’s businesses were suffering financially before the tornado, compounding the struggle for stricken companies.

     

    Cash-nadoAll told, the Moore, OK, tornado cost $2 billion. The even more devastating tornado in Joplin, MO, the year before that cost $2.8 billion. And of those staggering losses, small businesses tend to suffer the brunt. Though more vulnerable than their large commercial counterparts, mom-and-pop operations are less likely to have disaster plans in place, with the result that 40-60% of businesses hit by a natural disaster never recover.

     

    So, what can business owners do to weather a tornado? Experts’ advice boils down to three main areas of preparedness:

     

    1. Prep your space. Clear the property of unsecured materials or dead trees. Identify the safest place in your facility, make sure it will fit employees and customers, and stock it with emergency supplies.

     

    1. Prep your people. Have every employee’s contact info and make a phone or text tree to account for everybody. Teach employees how to take care of customers in the event of an emergency. And remember, it’s not enough to have an emergency plan; everyone needs to know and practice the plan until it becomes a conditioned response.

     

    1. Prep your stuff. Back up important information, like equipment inventory, customer information, ledgers, tax and payroll information, and contracts. Also, keep a current catalog of inventory and assets to help with insurance estimates after a disaster. Iowa State University even recommends storing extra supplies or key equipment offsite in the event your location is unavailable.

     

    While tornado season may be approaching, other catastrophes—floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, blizzards, anything!—can have the same affect on commerce. These are sensible steps for any business to take in preparation for their customers’ safety and the security of their bottom line! One of the best ways you can prepare your people is by having emergency kits handy at the job site. Check out our list of kits and find some that will suit your company’s needs!

     

     

    References:

     

    http://www.businessinsurance.com/article/20130521/NEWS06/130529956

     

    http://www.dnb.com/lc/credit-education/oklahoma-tornado-business-impact-report.html#.VTbV7c4_5Rr

     

    http://newsok.com/oklahoma-tornadoes-for-moore-businesses-rebuilding-will-be-more-than-structural/article/3828411

     

    http://www.insurancejournal.com/news/southcentral/2013/05/23/293129.htm

     

    http://www.sfgate.com/nation/article/Damage-from-Joplin-Mo-tornado-2-8-billion-3571524.php

     

    http://newsok.com/tornado-preparedness-for-small-companies-being-prepared-can-mean-staying-in-business-following-a-disaster/article/5404154

     

    http://www.prep4agthreats.org/Natural-Disasters/tornado-and-business

     

    http://www.koco.com/news/moore-businesses-hit-by-may-2013-tornado-get-hit-again/32038492

     

    http://www.restorationsos.com/education/natural-disasters/tornadoes/how-tornadoes-affect-businesses.asp

    Posted In: Uncategorized

  • 6 Signs a Tornado Is Coming

    |2 COMMENT(S)

    Tornado

     

    When a tornado touches down near you, will you be ready?

    The state of South Carolina hopes to be. Just the other day they conducted a state-wide tornado drill to make sure they’re prepared when—not if— the time comes.

    Although tornadoes tend to stay east of the Rocky Mountains, they have also occurred in pretty much every state. In other words, you could be affected no matter where you live. This means that tornadoes should be on everyone’s list as something to be prepared for.

    So I ask again: Will you be ready when the time comes?

    Animals Flying Watch out for flying livestock!

    When I think of tornadoes, my first thought is a funnel cloud hurling cows through the air. I’ve never been around a real tornado, but the movie Twister definitely prepared me for flying bovine should I ever find myself near one.

    And then, after the image of the cow flies off into the sunset, I ask myself, “What do I actually know about tornadoes, and how will I know if one is coming?”

    Great questions, Self.

    As tornadoes tend to start showing up more prevalently in the spring (and spring has just about sprung), let me share with you how to know if a tornado is on its way for a visit.

    Of course, the easiest way is to have your TV or radio on. Your local broadcasters will broadcast a tornado warning (right in the middle of your favorite show, might I add). Those tend to come only about 13 minutes before the actual tornado, and can actually come much faster. That being said, not every area will receive a broadcast warning, so knowing the signs of an imminent tornado is very important.

    Although tornadoes can be massive and devastating, they at least have the decency to give us a few warning signs before they officially arrive. These six signs should help you identify tornado threats.

    1. A Rotating, funnel shaped cloud extending from a thunderstorm towards the ground.

    Funnel Cloud

    Alright, so this one is one of the more obvious ones. Tornadoes have to form somewhere, so if you see a funnel cloud beginning to form, this is a very good sign a tornado is on its way. When the weather gets rough, you might want to keep your eye on the sky, just in case.

    1. A dark, sometimes green, sky

    green sky

    Not to be confused with the aurora borealis (aka the Northern lights). This is another reason why it’s good to watch the skies during storms. There is a lot of hail in thunderstorms associated with tornadoes, and so as this hail begins to be whipped around, the light of the sun refracts off the hail, giving the sky a green tint. The sky isn’t always green, however, so don’t be fooled if the sky is just very, very dark.

    1. An approaching cloud of debris

    Sometimes the funnel of a tornado will not be visible. Yet. By noticing a cloud of debris approaching (especially at ground level), that can be a good sign that something even more dangerous is on its way.

    1. A loud roar (similar to a freight train)

    This is especially useful if you don’t live near a railroad. Tornadoes give off a continuous rumble, much like that of a train. Other loud noises come from the velocity of the winds, as well as all the debris the tornado is hurling around and smashing into.

    1. A strange calm after a thunderstorm

    It is not uncommon for a tornado to occur after a thunderstorm. Do not be surprised if you see a clear, calm sky in the tornado’s wake.

    1. Debris falling from the sky

    This is also a good indicator that there are strong winds nearby. If debris starts falling from the sky like rain, chances are you’ll want to seek cover.

    Damage Are you prepared for a tornado's devastation?

    So there you have it. If you keep these six things in mind before and during storms, you shouldn’t be caught off guard by a tornado.

    Remember, when a tornado warning comes, you won’t have much time to prepare. If there is a tornado warning today, the time to prepare was yesterday. Be sure to have your emergency kits packed and ready to go before you even think you need them. For ideas as to what should be included in an emergency kit, check out this article at ready.gov. Or, if you’d rather get an emergency kit already put together, check out our selection here.

     

    Let us know how you prepare for tornadoes in the comments below!

    Posted In: Disaster Scenarios, Emergency Kits, Planning Tagged With: signs, warning, Tornado, natural disaster

  • Mother Nature: A Study in Unpredictability

    |1 COMMENT(S)

    motherNatureW

    hen it comes to rowdy weather, we seem to have it all figured out by region: earthquakes in California, tornadoes in Kansas, hurricanes in Florida, and whiteouts in Maine, right? How, then, do we account for recent phenomena like snow in SoCal, a first-time-ever hurricane off the coast of Brazil, and Oklahoma's new distinction as the US's most earthquake prone state? As we prepare for the unexpected, why is it so hard to know what to expect?

    The answer is that Mother Nature refuses to be figured out. She regularly breaks patterns, records, and electrical grids; and her only truly reliable feature is her unpredictability. (Now that I think about it, in some ways she's a lot like my two year-old. Only with a little less applesauce in her hair.)

    While meteorologists and seismologists puzzle over the whys and wherefores, for the rest of us, the biggest question regarding the prospect of a natural disaster is something more along the lines of, "How do I not die?"

    Good question. For our money, the best way to stay on our toes when Mother Nature is feeling capricious is to prepare for a range of circumstances. Have a fire escape plan and a tsunami evacuation route; know how to secure windows for a hurricane and protect pipes against a freeze; teach kids where to hunker down in an earthquake and where to run to in a tornado.

    map We all know where “Tornado Alley” is. Or do we? This map shows that tornados occur just about anywhere they choose.

    Most natural disasters have a specific set of recommended safe practices (check out Ready.gov's disaster specific tips sheets), and we don't want to confuse advice like `stay low in a fire,' and 'stay high in a flood.' Other preparations, however, are not only common to any disaster, but also vital. Here are three that could save your family, no matter what Mother Nature throws your way.

    We all know where "Tornado Alley" is. Or do we? This map shows that tornados occur just about anywhere they choose.

    Store food. Have we mentioned this before? Once or twice? Whether you're an advanced practitioner, with an extensive and neatly catalogued food storage, or a student with a couple of cans of chili under your bed, you need to consider how to access your stash in a hurry. Most organizations recommend keeping 72 hours worth of food handy. You could pull from your storage and make sure you have enough for each family member for three days in some kind of easily accessible pack. Or you could look into pre-packaged kits, like our Premium 4-Person 72-Hour Food Bucket.

    prep101 Learn about the 12 Areas of Preparation. Click on this image to download your own online booklet— Prep 1010: An Introduction to Getting Prepared.
    Store water. Again, the recommendation is water for three days (though longer term storage is a smart idea!). Figuring one gallon per person per day—and more for pets, children, or the elderly—that adds up quickly. There are loads of water storage options on the market, for long and short term, as well as filters and purifiers in case of contamination. Check here to see our range of water storage barrels, packaged water, and water treatment mechanisms.

     

    Store supplies. You may be MacGyver when it comes to household fix-it jobs, but a collapsed roof or flooded living room are going to require more than duct tape and paper clips. Be sure you have a well-stocked emergency supply kit stashed somewhere you can find it readily. FEMA has a useful emergency supply list, for general purposes. For more focused preparation, browse of collection of emergency kits, including everything from auto emergency kits, to power outage kits, to classroom school emergency kits.

     

    So, while this February the Rocky Mountains are enjoying 60° afternoons and Tennessee schools are closed due to icy roads, don’t be outsmarted by that shifty Mother Nature character. The facts are, tornados do strike in Salt Lake City, and Oklahomans will likely feel at least three tremors today. Who knows what’s in store for the rest of the country? Prepare for nature’s curveballs by keeping the basics on hand!

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: unpredictability, mother nature

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