Monday, May 2, 2016

Start your plan with contact information. You should write down important phone numbers on a sheet of paper or on a wallet size card. Everyone should carry this card in their wallet, purse or back-pack. It would be helpful to have this contact sheet posted in a central part of your home; like on the refrigerator or a bulletin board. This way, if your cell phone battery dies, you can still be in contact. The card should include the following phone numbers and information.

  • Family members
  • Close friends
  • School/office,
  • Physician,
  • Insurance information
  • Out of town contact.

Here is a link to a template you can use from FEMA.

When a tornado strikes, you may have a better chance of communicating via text instead of phone calls. There are times that a text may go through when you are not able to connect via a phone call. In addition, it frees up connectivity for emergency personnel. It may be easier to reach an out to town/state number which is why it is recommended to have one point person everyone can call/text to keep informed. A text should include where you are located, who you are with, that you are OK and if you need something.

Select a meeting place. You can have one within your neighborhood or somewhere else in town. Discuss ways to get to the meeting places as well. Decide on safe, familiar places where your family can go for protection or to reunite. For pet owners, consider animal friendly locations. According to FEMA, here are examples of potential meeting places.

  • In your neighborhood: A mailbox at the end of the driveway, or a neighbor's house.
  • Outside of your neighborhood: library, community center, place of worship, or family friend's home.
  • Outside of your town or city: home of a relative or family friend. Make sure everyone knows the address of the meeting place and discuss ways you would get there.

Social Media is a great place to stay in contact and keep others informed. On May 20, 2013, a friend traveling in Japan at the time of the tornado was able to connect with a quick phone call. Considering, electricity was out in the some of the metro area and phone service was spuratic, it would have been difficult to provide others with a status update. The friend was able to post an update letting people out of town know contact had been made and that everyone was OK.

It is important to practice your plan with your family. Have regular household meetings to review your emergency plans and discuss your designated meeting places. If you have not done it yet, now is a really good time to clean out the storm shelter. If you do not have a storm shelter, identify a safe area within your home. In addition, check the batteries in the weather radio. You want to make sure you have working flashlights as well as candles. Ensure you have back-up batteries.

"Norman Regional knows first-hand the devastating effects of severe weather and the importance of being informed of weather conditions and having a plan in place", said Shane Cohea, Director of Safety and Security at the Health System. During the May 20, 2013 tornadoes, the Health System's Moore Medical Center took a direct hit from an EF-5 tornado. While the building was destroyed, due to the preparedness of Moore Medical Center staff, those inside the building survived without injury.

Norman Regional Health System is proud to become a Weather-Ready Nation Ambassador with the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The Weather-Ready Nation Ambassador initiative is an effort to formally recognize NOAA partners who are improving the nation's readiness against extreme weather, water, and climate events. As a Weather-Ready Nation Ambassador, Norman Regional is committing to work with NOAA and other Ambassadors to strengthen national resilience against extreme weather.

Norman Regional Health System is holding six training sessions called EF-5 Fridays. The community is invited to learn about the best practices for severe weather. If you have any questions, you can contact our class enrollment line at 405-307-3176.

  • 5/6/2016 at 9:00 AM in the education center of Norman Regional Hospital at 901 N Porter Ave
  • 5/6/2016 11:00 AM in the 1st Conference Room at Norman Regional HealthPlex at 3300 HealthPlex Pkwy off of Tecumseh and I-35.
  • 5/6/2016 12:00 in the 1st Conference Room at Norman Regional HealthPlex at 3300 HealthPlex Pkwy off of Tecumseh and I-35.
  • 5/20/2016 at 9:00 AM in the education center of Norman Regional Hospital at 901 N Porter Ave.
  • 5/27/2016 9:00 AM in the education center of Norman Regional Hospital at 901 N Porter Ave.
  • 5/27/2016 11:00 in the 1st Conference Room at Norman Regional HealthPlex at 3300 HealthPlex Pkwy off of Tecumseh and I-35.

Join us by "being a Force of nature" and taking actions that can save lives anywhere - at home, in schools, and in the workplace before tornadoes, hurricanes, and other extreme types of weather strike.