Today I’d like to explain what was wrong with what we did.
- Few people took tornadoes as seriously as they should have. ALWAYS TAKE A TORNADO SERIOUSLY; IF YOU WANT TO CHASE OR WATCH THEM, GET THE TRAINING, FIRST.
- There were very few sirens and they were not systematic in their sounds. LEARN WHAT THE VARIOUS TONES AND PATTERNS OF YOUR EARLY WARNING SYSTEM MEAN. ALSO, DEMAND THAT YOUR AREA SOUND SIRENS ONLY FOR EMERGENCIES AND PRESCRIBED TESTING, NOT FOR SETTING CLOCKS OR CELEBRATING.
- It was against some law or policy to issue tornado warnings over radio, although a Mr. Audsley did so, that night in 1957, risking his job to save lives. ALWAYS LISTEN TO RADIO, OR BETTER YET, TO A DOPPLER-BASED WEATHER RADIO STATION. HAVE A RADIO THAT WORKS DURING BLACKOUTS.
- Few people knew what to do. Our hiding under a table was as futile as our running across lawns was dangerous. KNOW HOW TO BE SAFE, WHICH PORTIONS OF ANY BUILDING ARE GENERALLY SAFER IN A TORNADO, AND HOW YOU CAN BE SAFER IF CAUGHT OUTDOORS.
- We were barefoot or nearly barefoot. WHEN YOU REALIZE A TORNADO MAY BE ON ITS WAY, PUT ON YOUR MOST STURDY SHOES AND SOME SOCKS, STURDY JEANS, AND A STURDY SHIRT. MAKE YOUR CHILDREN DO THE SAME. Although helmets for children were not available over 50 years ago, today we also should store helmets in the basement or safe place during tornado weather, one for each family member.
- Many people were caught bathing. NEVER BATHE DURING LIGHTNING OR TORNADOS.
- Although Kansas and Missouri are notorious, worldwide, for hosting tornados, few people were ready with a plan and supplies. WE HAVE LEARNED HOW TO FACE TORNADOS WITH PREPAREDNESS. RENEW YOUR PREPAREDNESS PLAN AND SUPPLIES AT LEAST EVERY SPRING.
- We were shocked at the far-reaching effects. DEBRIS CAN LAND ANYWHERE. WATCH OUT FOR FALLING DOORS, TRICYCLES, ETC.
- People were injured by the aftermath. DO NOT TOUCH DOWNED WIRES OR GO NEAR THEM—ELECTRICITY CAN JUMP. IF YOU SMELL GAS, EVACUATE IMMEDIATELY AND DO NOT LIGHT OR START ANYTHING OR CAUSE ANY SPARKS, EVEN ELECTRIC SPARKS. DO NOT GO INTO WRECKED BUILDINGS WITHOUT HEADGEAR. ETC.
- Although phones were different back then and most were down, today we must: MAKE ONE PHONE CALL TO AN OUTSIDE FRIEND OR RELATIVES AND ASK THEM TO FORWARD YOUR STATUS. LEAVE THE LINES OPEN FOR THOSE WHO NEED EMERGENCY CARE.