The potential for severe weather is upon us. Parts of Canada can expect thunderstorms, flooding, hail, lightning, and damaging winds this summer. Tornadoes are a threat to many Canadians. The occurrence of tornadoes increases in the summer, with the peak in July.
Canada has several tornado prone areas, including Chatham-Kent. Since April 2015, four tornado alerts have been issued for the Chatham area.
Tornado alerts can happen at any time, as of this writing, the most recent one was issued for Chatham on June 17.
Do you and your family know what to do in case of a tornado?
Here are some tips for Tornado safety:
- Monitor the risk of severe weather as well as watches and warnings and stay weather aware – tornadoes can develop very quickly.
- When a tornado threatens, take shelter immediately. Shelter areas include the lower level of a sturdy building. If you are in a mobile home, go to your shelter area. Do not remain in your vehicle or attempt to outrun a tornado.
- Flying debris (such as glass, wood, and other objects) pose the greatest danger to your safety during tornadoes.
- If you are caught outdoors with no shelter available, your safest position is to lie flat in a ditch, ravine, or other low-lying area and shield your head with your arms.
It is critical that you are ready to take action to protect yourself and your family during an emergency. This includes knowing the risks, making a plan and having an emergency kit.
Government agencies are key resources. Emergency Management Ontario provides information specific to situations more likely to arise in Chatham. And Public Safety Canada (www.getprepared.gc.ca) has developed a customizable emergency plan to help all Canadians be prepared.
Canadians need to be ready to act when an emergency situation occurs. Fortunately, there are many organizations to turn to for information on how to prepare for a disaster. For instance, the Red Cross provides instructions on its website (www.redcross.ca) on what to include in an emergency plan, such as establishing a safe place for family to meet and creating an evacuation plan. The Insurance Bureau of Canada (www.ibc.ca) lists the items to make an emergency kit with 72 hours of supplies. And March of Dimes Canada (www.marchofdimes.ca) provides emergency preparedness tips for the disabled community.
Readiness, however, is only half of the equation; Canadians also need to be alerted of when it’s time to take action. The Weather Network plays a role by delivering real-time information on active and extreme weather situations across all of its media platforms, as well as facilitating the delivery of potentially life-saving alerts to Canadians.
Since 2010 The Weather Network has also operated the backbone infrastructure of Canada’s national emergency alerting system, which safely and securely distributed thousands of government-issued alert messages in the last year alone. This included 370 alerts that interrupted radio and television broadcasts to warn of imminent threat-to-life situations.
Chatham-Kent residents can expect alerts to be delivered to their smartphones by April 2018, which will literally put critical alert information in the palms of Canadians’ hands.