Tornado Safety

Okay, we definitely don’t live in Tornado Alley (can you believe people choose to live there? Yikes) but they still occur here in the summer months. Because of how rare they are here, we may not know what to do when it’s starting to look like Kansas. I bet my bottom dollar that the folks living in Tornado Alley know exactly what to do when one touches down. So, let’s go over the steps to protect yourself during a tornado.

According to Strathcona County’s website, the signs of a tornado here in Alberta are “Strong, persistent rotation in the cloud base. Whirling dust and/or debris on the ground underneath the cloud base. Tornadoes do not always have visible funnels – rain can obstruct the funnel from view. Hail or heavy rain followed by either absolute calm or extreme wind shift. Loud continuous roar or rumble unlike thunder that fades within seconds. Visible small, bright, blue and green to white power flashes at ground level.” Your supervisor should be aware of any warnings that Environment Canada releases and keep you informed. However, be proactive. If you see the above signs, take shelter. Keep in mind the biggest hazard is flying debris. So try and find a sturdy building, preferably with a basement. That’s not very common on site so go to the centre of the building. Do not take shelter in a vehicle and do not try and outrun a tornado in your work truck. If you’re in your vehicle or have no buildings readily available, take shelter by laying in a ditch or other lower ground levels. Lay flat and cover your head. I cannot stress that your biggest hazard is the stuff flying around and not the actual tornado itself. Wait it out. Stay sheltered until it’s safe to leave. Your supervisor will let you know. Make sure that Environment Canada is also saying the storm has passed.

As scary as tornadoes are, most of the ones we have here are small if they even touch down at all. But for those of you that remember Black Friday back in 1987, you also know the mass devastation they can cause. So it’s definitely worth being prepared in any situation.

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