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Windy Spring Weather

Posted Tuesday, May 12, 2009, at 3:08 PM

The following information comes to us from the American Red Cross.

As you may know, on Wednesday, April 29, The Weather Channel reported a change in American Red Cross policy with regards to tornado safety recommendations.

The specific change pertains to what people should do if they are outdoors, or in a mobile (manufactured) home, or in a car and without access to sturdy shelter during a tornado. Previously the American Red Cross adhered to the National Weather Service's recommendation that people should lie flat in a ditch or low-lying area.

However, after careful consideration, the Advisory Council for First Aid, Aquatics, Safety and Preparedness (ACFASP), an independent panel of health and safety experts that advise the Red Cross, found no scientific evidence to support this long-held tenant. Therefore, the revised American Red Cross recommendation is as follows:

If you are caught outdoors, seek shelter in a basement, tornado shelter or sturdy building. If you cannot get to shelter, a recent study suggests doing the following:

* Get into a vehicle, buckle your seat belt, and try to drive at right angles to the storm movement and out of the path of the tornado.

* If strong winds and flying debris occur while you are driving, pull over and park, keeping seat belts on and the engine running. Crouch down below the windows, covering your head with your hands and a blanket if possible.

If you are unable to get to a building or vehicle, as a last resort, lie in a ditch or depression and cover your head with your hands.

* Schmidlin T., et al, 2002: Unsafe at any (wind) speed? American Meteorological Society, 1821-30.

For other disaster preparation ideas you can get a booklet entitled Planning for Emergencies:Three Steps to be Prepared by contacting Mo. Dept. of Health and Senior Services, P.O. Box 570, Jefferson City, MO 65102-0570 or www.dhss.mo.gov

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Age Spots
Ruth Dockins
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Ruth Dockins is the Public Information Director for the Southeast Missouri Area Agency on Aging and author of 'Age Spots,' a column/blog which is featured in several Southeast Missouri newspapers and is devoted to seniors and senior lifestyles.
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