Imagine the Police Department having to say this: “Please don’t shoot at the tornadoes.” Yes, law enforcement in Lawrence, Kansas, actually had to say that. Tornadoes are big and powerful. They can be over a mile wide with winds up to 300 mph. They move fast, a lot faster than you can run, and they can change direction quickly. Three professional storm chasers were killed in 2013 by a fast moving tornado that changed direction. Semi-trucks and trains can be easily tossed about by a tornado. The average car and pick-up are no match for the power of a tornado either.
The best advice when a tornado warning is announced is to seek shelter and not go tornado hunting. Of all the Midwestern tornado alley states, Texas and Missouri are the only two that people have to be concerned with tornadoes occurring all year long. Missouri is in the top 10 states for the number of tornadoes, usually behind Texas, Kansas, Florida, Colorado, Nebraska, and Oklahoma.
In 2017, though, Missouri ranked third in the nation for most tornados. Missouri has the second most deaths on record by tornadoes from 1999 through 2013. Nationwide, most fatalities occur in single-family homes, not trailer parks. Local emergency managers plan for major events such as tornadoes. Local Community Emergency Response Teams train to respond to help first responders after a tornado.
They assist in damage assessment, setting up shelters, directing people to shelter locations, search and rescue, light triage, and debris removal. Note: This article was submitted by CERT trainer Art Madden. For more information about the free CERT training course, contact Saline County Emergency Management Director Tony Day at 660-236-1955 between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. Mondays through Fridays.