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American Red Cross offers expert advice to prepare for tornado threat

Posted at 6:14 AM, Apr 26, 2023
and last updated 2023-04-26 06:14:30-04

DELRAY BEACH, Fla. — As WPTV is helping you get ready for hurricane season, our news team is also helping you prepare for the possibility of a tornado in your neighborhood. The chances of a twister touching down go up with the threat of severe weather.

At the Kings Point senior living community near Delray Beach, resident Mona Casale clearly remembers the tornado that touched down in her community in September of last year.

"We had no idea what was going to happen," Casale said. "The damages were awful."

The tornado cut a six-mile path of damage through southern Palm Beach County.

Just like we heard from many WPTV viewers, Casale found it difficult to prepare for such a threat.

"We didn't have a heck of a lot of time," Casale said.

WPTV First Alert Weather meteorologist Jennifer Correa said while we typically have days to prepare for a hurricane, in the case of a tornado, it could be minutes or even seconds to get to a safe location.

"A quick reaction is key," Correa said.

"If a disaster is knocking on your doorstep, it's too late to prepare," said Eric Roby, the executive director of the American Red Cross, Palm Beach and Treasure Coast chapter.

Roby said it's important to have two kits ready. The first is a go-kit with food, water, medicine, batteries, and chargers for devices.

"That is the kit that will last three days, and you can carry it in your backpack and off you go to where you need if you have to evacuate," Roby said.

The second kit is a stay-at-home kit with two weeks worth of food, a month of prescriptions, and a gallon of water per person in your house to last 14 days.

As for planning for the moment a tornado warning is issued, Roby said head to a small interior room with no windows. It's usually a bathroom. Aim for the lowest level of a sturdy home or building.

"Depending on the severity of storms and how much time you have to react, pillows and mattresses can absolutely save lives as a last resort," Roby said. "It will protect you from any falling debris."

"I will not leave my Allie. I have to make that clear," Casale said about her beloved dog.

Roby said a frequent mistake the Red Cross sees is people not planning ahead for their pets.

"A lot of decisions have to be made in the moment, but the more you prepare and think, what would I do in this moment is going to make sure you can make a better choice when you really need to," Roby said.