Image description: Tech. Sgt. Rhonda Stockstill embraces her husband Lendle Stockstill in the shattered remnants of their former home that was destroyed by an EF-5 tornado that ripped through their neighborhood of Moore, Okla., on May 20, 2013.
The Stockstills huddled under the stairs as the storm ravaged their home. Once it passed, Sgt. Stockstill rushed to provide medical aid to students and faculty members who were injured and trapped at Briarwood Elementary School. Sergeant Stockstill is a surgical technician assigned to the 72nd Medical Group at Tinker Air Force Base, Okla.
Photo by Staff Sgt. Jonathan Snyder, U.S. Air Force.
After a disaster, you can let your friends and family know you’re safe with this tool from the Red Cross. You can also search for family or friends who may have been affected by the disaster.
Learn how to read the warning signs and make sure you’re ready.
Tornado season is here. Get your family and home ready with the official Tornado App from the American Red Cross.
The app puts everything you need to know to prepare for a tornado in the palm of your hand. It also sounds an alarm when NOAA issues a tornado warning for your location, even when the app is closed.
When you return to a damaged home or business after a tornado, you should take extra precaution to stay safe:
- Check the foundation, porches, and overhangs for damage. If you find obvious damage, ask that a building inspector check the building first.
- Enter the building carefully - if a door sticks at the top as it opens, it could mean the ceiling is ready to cave in. Do not walk under a sagging ceiling until a professional checks it.
- Because of potential gas leaks, do not use any lights, candles, gas lanterns, or torches; use battery-powered flashlights and lanterns.
- If you smell gas or suspect a leak, turn off the main gas valve, open all windows, and leave the house immediately
- Do not turn on any appliances or switches (this includes home phones and cell phones).
- Notify the gas company, the police, fire departments, or state fire marshal’s office.
- Take pictures of the damage, both to the house and its contents, for insurance purposes.
If you survived a disaster, such as a major tornado, you may be eligible for federal assistance. If the President issued a disaster declaration for your county, you can apply for assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). For more information, or to apply over the phone, please call 1.800.621.FEMA (1.800.621.3362).
More tips on what to do after a tornado.