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What to do after a violent storm

We’ve used this space in years past to remind residents what they should do before a tornado strikes and when the warning sirens sound. In brief, before a storm hits, have a plan to take cover; and if it strikes, follow that plan.

But in the wake of the tornadoes that struck Ohio Monday night and Tuesday morning, we realized there might be a gap in readers’ emergency preparedness plans. What should a person do in the immediate aftermath of a tornado?

The Federal Emergency Management Agency advices:

• Keep listening to the Emergency Alert System, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Weather Radio and local authorities for updated information. Make sure the storm has passed before leaving shelter.

• If you are trapped, cover your mouth with a cloth or mask to avoid breathing dust. Try to send a text, bang on a pipe or wall, or use a whistle instead of shouting.

• Stay clear of fallen power lines or broken utility poles.

• Do not enter damaged buildings until you are told that they are safe.

• Save your phone calls for emergencies. Phone systems are often down or busy after a disaster. Use text messaging or social media to communicate with family and friends.

• Be careful during clean-up. Wear thick-soled shoes, long pants and work gloves.

The National Weather Service adds:

• Check to see if your property has been damaged. When walking through storm damage, wear long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, and sturdy shoes. Contact local authorities if you see power lines down.

• If you come across people who are injured and you are properly trained, provide first aid to victims if needed until emergency response teams arrive.

From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

• Do not attempt to move a seriously injured person unless they are in immediate danger of additional injury.

• If your home is without power, use battery-powered flashlights and lanterns rather than candles to prevent accidental fires

• If you suspect any damage to your home, shut off electrical power, natural gas and propane tanks to avoid fire, electrocution or explosions.

• If you see frayed electrical wiring or sparks, or smell something burning, shut off your home’s electrical system at the main circuit breaker, if you have not done so already.

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