BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – With the threat of severe weather this week for the region, now is the time to make sure your severe weather plan is up to date.

In the event it’s needed, you must be able to get to your shelter area quickly – you may only have seconds to act.

The Storm Prediction Center has a good portion of the region in a ‘moderate risk’ outlook. A level 4 threat on the 1 to 5 scale.

Your first step to surviving severe weather is to develop a plan before storms develop.

The National Weather Service also encourages everyone to develop a Tornado Safety Kit. These items would be very useful to have in your storm shelter or to take with you into your shelter when severe weather strikes.

Here’s what you will need:

  • Disaster Supply Kit – You store your emergency supplies as close to your shelter as possible.
  • Battery-Operated Weather Radio – You will need to be able to monitor the latest information directly from your National Weather Service
  • A Map to Track Storms — You will need to track the progress of the storm. Since warning texts, including parish names, a parish outline map of your area is a great thing to keep handy. You might also want to keep a state highway map, which includes most of the cities and towns referred to in NWS warnings and statements.
  • Battery-Operated TV and/or Radio – This will allow you to monitor news and severe weather information if you lose electrical power.
  • Shoes – This will be very important if you have damage and you must walk across broken glass or other debris!
  • Identification – You may need identification to move around in the area should significant damage occur.
  • Car Keys – Keep an extra set in your shelter area in case your car remains drivable.
  • Cell Phone – However, remember that cell phone service may be interrupted after a tornado or other disaster. Make sure to turn on your emergency wireless alerts on your device to receive tornado and flash flood warnings.

Other Things to Consider

If you have a safe room or other shelter area, you might consider storing important papers and other irreplaceable items in the shelter if space permits. Check and replace batteries in your weather radio, battery-powered TV/radio, flashlights, and other devices often in your safety kit, preferably twice a year. Do this when we set clocks back and ahead in the spring and fall, and when you replace smoke detector batteries. Check your disaster supplies kit often to maintain fresh food and water.

Make sure you have something to cover up with. Pillows, blankets, sleeping bags, a mattress could help to protect you from falling/flying debris. Above all protect your head, neck and upper body. Wear a helmet (bicycle, football, baseball, motorcycle, hard hat, etc) if you have one. If there’s room, lie flat and cover-up. Otherwise, get as low to the ground as possible and make as small a target as possible.

Unfortunately, there are no safety rules – absolute safety facts that will keep you safe 100% of the time. Instead, we offer guidelines for personal safety. The vast majority of tornadoes are weak and don’t last very long. By following the guidelines included in this document, you and your family can survive a tornado. These tornado safety guidelines should reduce, but will not totally eliminate, your chances of being seriously injured or killed in a tornado.

The good news is that you can survive most tornadoes. The key to survival is planning – knowing what you need to do to be safe before a tornado threatens.

Your safe place- In the event of a tornado warning, be sure to get to the lowest level of your home. Put as many walls between yourself and the outside. Being in a mobile home is not an ideal place when a tornado is approaching. If you live in a mobile home, you should leave and find a more sturdy structure to take shelter in.