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What to do after a tornado

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Oklahoma tornado

The EF4 tornado that devastated Moore, Okla., on Monday has caused untold damage and claimed at least 24 lives. If you want to help or if you need help, check out the information below.

What to do after a tornado

This government website - http://www.ready.gov/tornadoes - has information on what to do before, during and after a tornado. Among the after tips are:

  • Continue to monitor your battery-powered radio or television for emergency information.
  • Be careful when entering any structure that has been damaged.
  • Wear sturdy shoes or boots, long sleeves and gloves when handling or walking on or near debris.
  • Be aware of hazards from exposed nails and broken glass.
  • Do not touch downed power lines or objects in contact with downed lines. Report electrical hazards to the police and the utility company.
  • Use battery-powered lanterns, if possible, rather than candles to light homes without electrical power. If you use candles, make sure they are in safe holders away from curtains, paper, wood or other flammable items. Never leave a candle burning when you are out of the room.
  • Never use generators, pressure washers, grills, camp stoves or other gasoline, propane, natural gas or charcoal-burning devices inside your home, basement, garage or camper - or even outside near an open window, door or vent. Carbon monoxide (CO) - an odorless, colorless gas that can cause sudden illness and death if you breathe it - from these sources can build up in your home, garage or camper and poison the people and animals inside. Seek prompt medical attention if you suspect CO poisoning and are feeling dizzy, light-headed or nauseated.
  • Hang up displaced telephone receivers that may have been knocked off by the tornado, but stay off the telephone, except to report an emergency.
  • Cooperate fully with public safety officials.
  • Respond to requests for volunteer assistance by police, fire fighters, emergency management and relief organizations, but do not go into damaged areas unless assistance has been requested. Your presence could hamper relief efforts and you could endanger yourself.

How to connect with those in Moore

The Red Cross has a website devoted to helping connect you to your friends and family affected by the tornado. Go to https://safeandwell.communityos.org/cms/index.php.

If you or someone you know needs emotional support after a tornado, contact the Disaster Stress Helpline, a government website devoted to helping people cope with tragedies. Go to http://disasterdistress.samhsa.gov/ or call 800-985-5990.

More resources

FEMA has more resources and information listed on their website, http://www.fema.gov/.

How to help

Only donate to charities that you know are reputable. The American Red Cross is one of the best to donate to, as they're goverment-approved and have a presence in Oklahoma. Go to http://www.redcross.org/ for more information. 

Other places you might consider donating to include the Salvation Army - donate.salvationarmyusa.org/uss/eds/aok - and Oklahoma Baptist Disaster Relief - www.bgco.org/donate.

Below watch the latest video coverage of the disaster.