Oklahoma Twister

By Jordan D’Silva, Volunteer Contributor, American Red Cross

In February, esteemed actor Bill Paxton passed away. Known for his roles in movies such as Titanic and Alien, Paxton was also the leading man in a film close to the hearts of many Oklahomans. Twister, the story of storm chasers in Oklahoma, remains as an all-too-familiar story line in Oklahoma, where each year hundreds of families are affected by tornadoes. And like Paxton did in Twister, we must fight back against the swarming power of nature.

The Red Cross and local partners within the community are actively working to prepare Oklahomans for tornado season, so they can better protect their loved ones. Here are some helpful tips to start with:

First, it is important to identify a safe place within your house, possibly a cellar, a basement, or interior room that has no windows. That is the safest location to move to in case of a tornado.

From there, you must arm yourself for battle. This means assembling an emergency kit complete with first-aid, food, water, and other supplies. In case you need to evacuate, make sure you have a plan for evacuation that everyone in your family can easily remember. Staying together is critical to any war, even a war against nature.

Right before and even during a tornado, always have a radio or TV turned to a local weather station and keep track of the storm’s proximity. Even if you’re not sure, go to the safest place in your house. If you’re living in a mobile home, there is no safe place, so find out where the closest emergency shelter is and go there as fast as possible, if there is even a small chance the storm could be headed your way. And if you run into the storm while driving, pull over and park, keep the car running, and keep your head down with your hands on your head to avoid flying debris. The best offense against the all-powerful hands of a tornado is defense. Defend yourself and you will win.

When the tornado has subsided, make sure to alert your friends and family of your location and state of being. If there are injuries, and you have the correct training, provide first-aid. And if you have evacuated your house, do not return until the authorities declare the area safe.

Lastly, get involved with the Red Cross. Download the Red Cross Emergency app for your phone which can be an excellent preparedness tool in any disaster. Make sure to educate your family and friends and share your ‘in case of emergency’ plan. Lastly, always stay alert, especially during tornado season. Bill Paxton got killed by an alien, a predator, and the Terminator. And yet, he survived the mighty Oklahoma twister. Be like Bill Paxton, a hero who fought with nature and emerged victorious, if even for a moment.

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