ourWindsor.ca: How prepared are you for a tornado?

A woman carries a child through a field near the collapsed Plaza Towers Elementary School - Sue Ogrocki (The Associated Press)

Jonathon LiedtkeourWindsor.ca – May 21, 2013


Following a deadly and destructive mile-wide tornado which ripped through Oklahoma and caused twenty-four deaths, OurWindsor.ca reached out to Emergency Management Ontario to talk about emergency preparedness.

The tornado which caused mayhem in Oklahoma was recently confirmed as an EF-5, which is the most powerful classification of Tornado on the enhanced Fujita scale.

In the wake of the event, Amherstburg Police Service has organized an emergency plan exercise tomorrow which is expected to cause traffic delays. Police, fire, EMS and other emergency agencies will be onsite and the Emergency notification sirens will be used during the exercise.

“The point with emergency preparedness is to try and focus your preparedness so that you’re ready for anything,” explained Allison Stuart, the Chief of Emergency Management Ontario and an expert on emergency preparedness.

Emergency Management Ontario (EMO) explains on their website that “emergencies can strike anywhere, at any time” and for that reason, all Ontario residents are encouraged to be prepared by “having a plan, assembling a survival kit, and by staying informed.”

Rather than developing multiple plans for different disasters and scenarios, EMO suggests developing one comprehensive plan that can be adapted for different situations.

“People just get exhausted and they just won’t do it,” said Stuart referencing preparing multiple plans for multiple situations.

EMO suggests an emergency plan should include: a family communications plan, an evacuation plan, an evacuation route of your home, copies of emergency numbers, a utility shut-off procedure and important documents.

“The plan is for you and your family, the people that are important to you, so that you can all know what to expect should something unforeseen happen,” said Stuart who added that the EMO website has a digital plan designer that will populate itself based on information that you provide.

“Once you’ve got your plan in place, you’re going to want to make sure you’ve got your emergency kit together,” said Stuart. “Make sure you’ve got batteries, flashlights, a windup radio and food and water for three days.”

“It’s also a good idea to include in your emergency kit copies of important documents [insurance policy, credit card numbers, bank accounts],” said Stuart who added that it is important to put cash away as well because “if the power goes out, you’re not going to get to those wonderful ATM machines and people tend to forget that because we’re so used to it.”

EMO maintains an alert system which Ontarians can sign up for which will digitally send out alerts through the EMO website when there are disasters or severe weather warnings.

Finally, Stuart recommended that you get familiar with the area that you live in.

“What you may experience in Southern Ontario [may] be different from someone in the far north,” said Stuart. “What sorts of emergencies do happen in your community? Are you prone to [certain disasters]?”


Jon Liedtke

How prepared are you for a tornado?


Jonathon Liedtke is the Features & Opinion Editor for the University of Windsor Lance Campus/Community Newspaper and a reporter for ourWindsor.ca. As a founding member and current Co-Chair of the Mayor’s Youth Advisory Committee, he is committed to representing, connecting, engaging with and advocating for local youth. He is also a member of Windsor’s “Punk with Horns” band The Nefidovs, and as such, is committed to enhancing and sustaining the arts community.