New App Helps Families in Severe Weather - MetroFamily Magazine
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New App Helps Families in Severe Weather

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Severe weather season is here and the American Red Cross is urging Oklahoma residents to take steps now to stay safer when severe weather hits. A great way to prepare for bad weather is to download the free Red Cross Tornado app to your phone.

“By preparing together for severe weather, we can make our families safer and our communities stronger,” said spokesman Ken Garcia. “We can help you and your family create a disaster preparedness plan now, before our community is threatened by high winds, hail, lightning and heavy rain.”  

As with any disaster, preparation can be the difference between life and death. The Red Cross recommends that individuals and families prepare for severe weather by:

Downloading the free Red Cross Tornado app to your mobile device. The Red Cross tornado app includes a high-pitched siren and warning alert that signals when a tornado warning has been issued, as well as an all-clear alert that lets users know when a tornado warning has expired or has been canceled. The flood app also sends location-based flood and flash flood watches and warning alerts from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Both apps also include tips on how assemble an emergency kit for your family in the event of a power outage or evacuation, an “I’m Safe” button to let loved ones know you are okay, and a real-time map to help you find the location of Red Cross shelters should you need to leave your home. The apps have a Spanish language toggle switch and can be downloaded by visiting

Making a Home Disaster Plan: Pick a safe place in your home for household members to gather during a storm. This should be away from windows, skylights and glass doors that could be broken by strong winds or hail. Protect your animals by ensuring that any outside buildings that house them are protected in the same way as your home.  Remove animals from vulnerable dog houses and similar small structures.

Creating an Emergency Preparedness Kit: Pack a first aid kit and a seven-day supply of essential medications, foods that don’t require cooking or refrigeration and manual can opener, bottled water, flashlights and a battery-powered radio with extra batteries, copies of important documents like your insurance policies, cell phone chargers, family and emergency contact information, maps of the area and other emergency items for the whole family.

Heeding Storm Warnings: A severe storm WATCH means severe thunderstorms are possible in and near the watch area.  People in a watch area should keep informed and be ready to act if a severe thunderstorm warning is issued. A severe storm WARNING means severe weather has been reported by spotters or indicated by radar.  Warnings indicate imminent danger to life and property. If you can hear thunder, you are close enough to be in danger from lightning. Seek shelter immediately. The National Weather Service recommends staying inside for at least 30 minutes after the last thunder clap.

Preparing for High Winds: If you have time, secure lawn furniture, outdoor decorations, trash cans, hanging plants and anything else that can be picked up by wind.

For more information on what to do before, during and after severe weather, please visit

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