Owen County official offers tips for tornado safety

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By David Lilly
For the News-Herald

Every state is at some risk of tornadoes and the damage that they leave behind. Some tornadoes are clearly visible, while rain or nearby low-hanging clouds may obscure others.
Occasionally, tornadoes develop so rapidly that little, if any, advance warning is possible.
To begin preparing for any disaster, you should build an emergency kit and make a family communications plan.
When Owen County is under a tornado watch, be alert to changing weather conditions and listening to NOAA Weather Radio or to commercial radio or television newscasts for the latest information.
Ready.gov has planning tools for whether you are at a home, business, school and workplace.

Taking cover during a tornado
If you are under a tornado warning, seek shelter immediately. Most injuries associated with high winds are from flying debris, so remember to protect your head. Go to a predesignated shelter area such as a safe room, basement, storm cellar, or the lowest building level. Put as many walls as possible between you and the outside.
If there is no basement, go to the center of an interior room on the lowest level (closet, interior hallway) away from corners, windows, doors, and outside walls. Get under a sturdy table and use your arms to protect your head and neck. Put on sturdy shoes. Do not open windows. Continue to monitor your battery-powered radio or television for emergency information.

Recovering after a tornado
After the storm has passed, you should still be aware of weather changes and insecure structures. After a disaster strikes, use extreme caution when returning home. You may be eager to see your property, but do not return to your home before the area is declared to be safe by local officials.
Before entering your home, be sure to take the following measures:
• Check for loose power lines, gas leaks and structural damage;
• Keep a battery-powered radio with you so you can listen for emergency updates and news reports;
• Use a battery-powered flashlight to inspect a damaged home;
• If you have any doubts about safety, have your residence inspected by a qualified building inspector or structural engineer before entering.
• Text, email, and use social media to let everyone know you’re safe.
• Avoid making phone calls to free up the lines for first responders.
Owen County Emergency Management would like to remind residents to always call 911 when reporting a fire, motor-vehicle accident, search and rescue, boating accident, law enforcement incident or need for ambulance. It is important to that they get information recorded of incidents by dispatch.
With the way Owen County land lines and cell towers are, you could go to another dispatch center than Campbellsburg, so make sure you let them know you reside in Owen County.