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The Suburbanite
  • Be sure to have a plan of your own

  • The issue: Tornado preparedness

    Our view: Hospitals, other agencies practice for the worst; so should Stark Countians

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  • The issue: Tornado preparedness
    Our view: Hospitals, other agencies practice for the worst; so should Stark Countians
    The goal of the drill held Thursday in Stark County was improving cooperation among all the people whose job is to save lives and restore order during and after a tornado.
    Reading about the exercise, we were reminded that even with the best of cooperation among these people and institutions, natural disasters have a way of demanding that each of us have an advance plan of our own, or suffer sometimes terrible consequences.
    The drill managed by a Columbus organization was designed for agencies from 13 counties including Stark. It included 30 hospitals, along with fire departments, health departments and others.
    As part of the scenario, the participants were to deal with serious damage to at least one hospital at the same time 1,600 people needed hospital treatment.
    See what we mean about personal responsibility? Lesson No. 1 for the rest of us from this scenario is not to assume, from our vantage point as Stark Countians hurt by flying debris, that this would be an ordinary day in the emergency room.
    Tornado drills feature such scenarios for good reason. As Sarah Metzger of the Akron Regional Hospital Association noted, hospitals worry more about tornadoes than other natural disasters. “Because it’s unannounced, you have very little time to prepare and it’s so destructive,” she said.
    Which also is Lesson No. 2 for the rest of us: The time to prepare for a tornado is now — there won’t be time when it happens.
    Here are a few tips from the Ohio Committee for Severe Weather Awareness:
    •Remember the acronym DUCK: Go Down to the lowest level. Get Under something. Cover your head. Keep in shelter until the storm has passed.
    •Develop a disaster plan to respond to tornado watches and warnings, and conduct regular drills.
    •Learn how to turn off the water, gas and electricity at the main switches. When a watch is issued, review your plan. Don’t wait for the watch to become a warning.
    •Tune in to NOAA Weather Radio, Ohio News Network, Weather Channel or a local radio station.
    •Go to the basement or, if there is none, a small room (bathroom or closet) on the lowest level, away from windows and as close to the center of the building as possible.
    •If in a store, office or schools and no shelter has been identified, move to the lowest level. Try to avoid areas with large glass windows, large rooms and wide-span roofs such as auditoriums, cafeterias and large hallways.
    • For more tips, go to: www.weathersafety.ohio.gov/TornadoFacts.aspx
    Certainly because of drills such as the one held last week in Stark, and because of faster, more precise weather forecasting, we all have more of a fighting chance against a tornado than we used to.
    Page 2 of 2 - But one thing never changes: The best way to ensure your survival is to know in advance what you should do, and practice it.