Do your kids know the tornado drill for home?

Kids often practice tornado drills at schools, but what about at home? Do they know where to go in your house if there is a tornado warning?

All of the recent storms and tornado warnings in Georgia bring up childhood memories for me of dealing with the threat of similar storms when my parents were not at home.

Both my mom and dad worked and often my older brother was in charge after school.  I can remember seeing the tornado warnings coming on the TV while we were watching cartoons.

We didn’t have a basement, but I remember being told by my parents to go to the center hall bathroom on the ground floor in case of a tornado warning. There were no glass there and no exterior walls.

That lesson stuck with me. I remember in my first house, which also didn’t have a basement, hiding with my toddlers in the closet under the stairwell. There was no glass or exterior walls.

In our second house we always told the kids to go to the basement if there were ever bad storms. We did it a couple of times during the three years we spent in that house.

So have you given your kids the big tornado talk at home? Do they know the safest place in the house to go if there is a tornado warning? Do you think they would go there if you were not at home? Do you practice tornado and fire drills in the house?

– Theresa Walsh Giarrusso, ajc.com Momania. I have increased my Twitter activity. I am sending out great stories for moms each day focusing on health, fitness, sex, entertainment, food, travel and obviously parenting! So follow me on Twitter at @AJCMOMania!)

32 comments Add your comment

Kathy

April 27th, 2011
6:44 am

I was a victim of the “Dunwoody Tornado” in April of 1998. We have the tornado talk a lot in our house. We have a safe area in our basement, weather radio, etc. I am extremely scared of storms because of my experience so I will not sleep much tonight. The TV will be tuned to Glenn Burns as long as it is needed.

shaggy

April 27th, 2011
6:49 am

We play the tornado game. The last one in the bathtub is a rotten egg and has to get the mattress. The dogs always seem to win.

motherjanegoose

April 27th, 2011
7:28 am

We luckily have a basement. Husband lived in Kansas and knows all about tornadoes.
In 1998, we were at the beach during the tornado and had no idea what was going on in Atlanta.

Purple Drank

April 27th, 2011
7:49 am

We had a Black & Decker drill.

JJ

April 27th, 2011
8:18 am

@Shaggy – you crack me up….

I have a funny story. A while back when we were having all kinds of rough weather, and tornado warnings almost every night, my daughter was home for the weekend. I went to bed around 10:00 and she went over to a friend’s house. About 1:00 a.m. sdhe came home and decided to vaccuum her bedroom, which is down in the basement. All I hear is the high pitched “whirrrr” of the vaccuum, and I jumped out of bed, grabbed the dog, and ran down the hall to the stairs. As I approach the stairs, I realize it’s the vaccuum and not a tornado siren,……we still laugh about that…

Back on topic – yes we have a plan. I grab my purse and cell phone, and we grab the animals and head down to the basement and get in the crawl space under the stairs, with blankets and pillows. I have an iPhone with The Weather Channel app, so I don’t need a radio….

BShepC

April 27th, 2011
8:31 am

We go to the finished out room in the basement. Growing up in the South all my life, I take it very seriously while my husband thinks I worry too much…we go down for severe thunderstorms too since we have so many big trees near the house. Watching them sway in the wind makes my stomach turn. Try not to freak out the kids…they don’t need the worry. We have lots of retired toys down in that room so that is a good distraction for them.Not sure how I’ll sleep tonight, last time we had tornado sirens go off I slept through them. I remember I slept through the ‘98 tornado and it went flying through a n’hood a mile from my apt. For some reason though, all the coverage for this upcoming storm has me more concerned than usual. Stay safe everyone :)

JJ

April 27th, 2011
8:37 am

In my experience of living in Atlanta for over 30 years, every time they hype a storm, it’s not too bad. They have predicted a few ice storms and gotten it right, but when they start hyping a major storm for DAYS, it won’t happen.

I think the media loves sending people in to a frenzy……

Me

April 27th, 2011
8:42 am

Yes. We go to a finished room in our basement also. The two girls are grown and have moved out but the 16-year-old knows exactly what to do should the need arise whether we are home or not. Knowing what to do, in what order, and doing it quickly could be the difference.

Techmom

April 27th, 2011
8:49 am

I agree, the weather here is usually hyped up by the media when it shouldn’t be and then we’ll have storms that “no one predicted”.

We have a basement in our house now and have headed down there a couple of times when the sirens have gone off and our son knows to do the same.

I remember when we first moved to the south and my mom would freak out over tornado warnings and we’d have to go sit in the bathroom. When she and my dad moved to northern Texas I used to tease her that she was going to spend her life in the bathroom hiding out.

motherjanegoose

April 27th, 2011
8:50 am

JJ..I keep my purse, room key and a something to hop into when staying at hotels. I have woken up just a few times with a smoke alarm ( someone stepped off the elevator with a cigarette on a non smoking floor or smoked in the elevator at 2:00 in the morning) and the alarms go off. Lots of folks are outside with no ID, no room key and looking frazzled.

JOD

April 27th, 2011
9:00 am

@JJ and Techmom – Definitely agree. MOST major storms from the west lose their punch over AL, so by the time it gets here it’s not so bad.

Our neighborhood was hit by a tornado in the 80s (before contractors would show up and remove the trees and tarp for you!), and the neighborhood all pitched in to get things in order. It was scary, but not so scary that I fear bad weather.

Weather radio, knowing what to look for (and trusting your gut instinct), and a plan are the most important things for severe weather season.

Glen Burns

April 27th, 2011
9:03 am

I love to hype the weather. It gives me extra face time on TV. Honestly, I get aroused when I think of severe weather. Who needs a wife when you can have Doppler radar?

Watch me tonight and see how aroused I get.

Sylvania

April 27th, 2011
9:12 am

Get a weather radio and program it for not only your county but the counties around yours. When it goes off and tells you that your area is under a tornado warning, you know it’s the real deal. It is especially helpful during the middle of the night.

Hopefully this information will allay the fears of those who think the weather is “hyped up”.

shaggy

April 27th, 2011
9:47 am

Glenn Burns,

You have absolutely nothing over Ken Cook, “The Weather God of Atlanta”.

If he has his jacket on, you better get ready to duck. He ain’t playing.
Plus, he grows a mean tomato. I think he even names them, like hurricanes.

shaggy

April 27th, 2011
10:01 am

I meant, “if he has his jacket off”.
It is really a big difference. Jacket on = calm weather. Jacket off = climb into your nearest weather shelter and begin praying.
He predicted the 1998 tornados to the hour…in 1988, so beware of Ken Cook.

JOD

April 27th, 2011
10:10 am

@shaggy – LOL. Don’t forget to beware Ken Cook in a sweater vest with his shirtsleeves rolled up…

JJ

April 27th, 2011
10:21 am

Oh yea, sleeves rolled up…..he means business….

Enemas for the Hungry

April 27th, 2011
10:22 am

Twice I’ve see the phrase “when it goes off” as an indication that something is becoming active, or turning on.

Am I the only one that finds this incorrect?

Enemas for the Hungry

April 27th, 2011
10:28 am

Sweater vest! HA

Vests were designed to save us.

Bullet proof vest saves us from getting shot

Life vest saves us from drowning

Sweater vest saves us from pretty girls

Stacey

April 27th, 2011
10:37 am

I’ll admit that we’ve gotten kind of lax with all of the false alarms but our plan is to go to the hallway of the finished basement. I always (try to) keep a flashlight, candles and matches and a battery operated radio (not the special weather radio) in the downstairs bathroom but since we only use the laundry room downstairs, I can’t swear they are there now. There is a window right at the top of the stairs and I keep a flashlight there also in case we need to use it to get downstairs. I know it’s there because I see if everyday but I need to check it to be sure the batteries are good.

I used to make pallets for us and my son and I would sleep in the downstairs if a storm was predicted for overnight but I rarely do that now. I do have my son sleep with my husband (I sleep on the sofa)on stormy and/or really windy nights because his bedroom is on the back of the house and we have a lot of huge trees in the backyard.

Tiger Ochocinco Mellencamp

April 27th, 2011
11:40 am

I grew up in earthquake country, not tornado land. I’ve lived in the the mountains all my adult life so no worries other than avalanches now.

I did have a business trip to S. Dakota once and I was heading back to my hotel after dinner and heard the sirens and saw the clouds circling really weird in the sky. Slipped under my hotel door was a flyer requesting all guests evacuate to the basement immediately. I called the front desk and asked how concerned I should really be and the guy said “I’ve lived here my entire life….and I’m heading to the basement.” I told him I’d meet him there. Apparently one actually touched down about 8 miles away. those things are scary! If i lived in tornado country, I’d totally have my kid know the drill at home, just like he knows the fire drill now.

Mattie

April 27th, 2011
12:04 pm

I fear we have gotten complacent about all the warnings this year. We do have a basement should the situation necessitate going down to it, but so far we’ve just kept the TV on and watched the storms mostly dissipate before hitting us.

The year we moved in we spent a fortune removing all the trees close to the house, but the ones in the back of our yard are certainly tall enough to hit the house. Every single time we have any kind of wind trees go down here in Milton. I drive with one eye on the trees alongside the roads, because I don’t trust any of them to stay upright.

@Enema, sweater vest, hysterical!

Kat

April 27th, 2011
12:13 pm

@Tiger: They slipped a piece of paper under your door to tell you to evacuate immediately? How odd is that? How about a strong knock on the door?

Enemas for the Hungry

April 27th, 2011
12:20 pm

I love tornados. Reminds me of a tasteless joke

What does a tornado and(insert the name of a college you love to make fun of….I like to make fun of Clemson)cheerleader have in common?

They both eventually land in a trailer park.

YOCK YOCK YOCK!!!!

Tiger Ochocinco Mellencamp

April 27th, 2011
12:28 pm

@Kat…I’m sure they did that too, but just left the note for folks like me who weren’t in their rooms at the time they knocked.

jarvis

April 27th, 2011
12:30 pm

Yup.
We live on a slab, so the kids know to get in the pantry closet which is under our stairs.

jarvis

April 27th, 2011
12:32 pm

JJ, they pretty much nailed the hell out of that snow storm in January.

I kept telling my wife that it was overhyped so she would feel OK about leaving our kids with her sister while we attended a funeral in Savannah….

We got stuck in Savannah for 3 days.

Stacey

April 27th, 2011
12:34 pm

I also slept through the tornadoes in April ‘98. At the time I lived in an apartment on Franklin Rd in Marietta and my husband’s cousin woke us up when he called at 4:30 a.m to make sure we were okay. There was a lot of destruction on the surrounding streets but thankfully we were unscathed.

As someone mentioned earlier, for some reason today’s storms “feel” different to me and I’m a little uneasy. We will probably do the downstair campout tonight if things are still predicted to be bad overnight. I’ve been getting texts and facebook messages all day today from friends and family in MS, AL & TN and although they are all safe, they warn that this system is worse than some of the other recent ones.

Enemas for the Hungry

April 27th, 2011
12:55 pm

Bratwurst on the grill for me tonight, then wait for the destruction.

We should name this storm……Seymour….yeah…..Storm Seymour 2011!!

JJ

April 27th, 2011
1:03 pm

@Jarvis – Savannah’s a great place to be stuck for 3 days!!!! But not away from the kids in bad weather.

The blizzard of 1993 – my daughter was 2, and was visiting my parents for the night. I had gone out with friends the night it hit. When I woke up that morning, there was snow piled up against my dining room window. I was stuck in my apartment, had no power and very little food, and couldn’t get to my daughter for 3 days……to make matters worse, my father was on oxygen using a concentrator that had to be plugged in. They lost power for three days too, but thankfully they had purchased a generator and my dad was able to get his oxygen. My poor Mom, having to take care of a 2 year old, and a very sick husband. Bless her heart!!!

Enemas for the Needy

April 27th, 2011
1:26 pm

I misspelled tornadoes in a previous post.

MS.DEVIL

April 27th, 2011
2:17 pm

I feel ad for you and your kids.