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Tornadoes can be incredibly dangerous and cause significant damage to homes, buildings, and entire communities. Norman, Oklahoma, a city located in the heart of Tornado Alley, is no stranger to these destructive storms. Therefore, it is essential that residents of Norman and the surrounding areas have a plan in place to stay safe during a tornado, including having access to storm shelters.

The first step in tornado safety is to stay informed of weather conditions and updates. Local news stations and the National Weather Service provide continuous coverage of severe weather events and can warn residents of tornado watches and warnings. It is important to take these warnings seriously and seek shelter immediately.

The best place to seek shelter during a tornado is in a storm shelter. A storm shelter is a specially designed structure that provides protection from strong winds and debris. There are different types of storm shelters available, including in-ground shelters, above-ground shelters, and safe rooms. In-ground shelters are typically located in a backyard or garage and are designed to withstand the force of a tornado. Above-ground shelters are usually made of reinforced concrete or steel and can be installed inside or outside a home. Safe rooms are small, windowless rooms that are built to FEMA guidelines and can be located inside a home or in a separate structure.

It is important to have a plan in place for accessing a storm shelter during a tornado. Make sure everyone in your household knows where the shelter is located and how to get there quickly. If you do not have access to a storm shelter, identify the safest place in your home to take cover, such as a basement or an interior room on the lowest level.

In addition to having a plan for accessing a storm shelter, it is important to prepare a disaster supply kit. This kit should include essentials such as water, non-perishable food, flashlights, batteries, a first aid kit, and any necessary medications. Keep this kit in your storm shelter or in a place that is easily accessible during an emergency.

While storm shelters provide the best protection during a tornado, there are other safety precautions you can take to minimize the risk of injury or damage to your property. Avoid windows and exterior walls during a tornado, as flying debris can easily break through them. If you are driving during a tornado, do not try to outrun it. Instead, pull over to the side of the road and seek shelter in a low-lying area, ditch, or culvert.

In conclusion, tornado safety is a serious matter in Norman, Oklahoma, and other areas prone to severe weather. It is important to have a plan in place for accessing a storm shelter and to stay informed of weather updates. Storm shelters provide the best protection from strong winds and debris, and having a disaster supply kit on hand can help ensure that you and your family are prepared for an emergency. By taking these precautions, you can stay safe and minimize damage during a tornado.