Opinion Column

How to be prepared if tornado touches down

Boats and timbers are strewn about at Brentwood Marina in south-end Barrie following a deadly tornado on May 31, 1985. EXAMINER FILES

Boats and timbers are strewn about at Brentwood Marina in south-end Barrie following a deadly tornado on May 31, 1985. EXAMINER FILES

 The potential for severe weather is upon us.


Parts of Canada can expect thunderstorms, flooding, hail, lightning and damaging winds this summer.

Tornadoes are a threat to many Canadians. The occurrence of tornadoes increases in the summer, with the peak in July.

Canada has several tornado prone areas, including Barrie. Since April 2015, nine tornado alerts have been issued for Barrie.

Tornado alerts can happen at any time, as of this writing, the most recent one was issued for Barrie on June 18.

Do you and your family know what to do in case of a tornado?

Here are some tips for Tornado safety:

• Monitor the risk of severe weather as well as watches and warnings and stay weather aware, because tornadoes can develop very quickly;

• When a tornado threatens, take shelter immediately. Shelter areas include the lower level of a sturdy building. If you are in a mobile home, go to your shelter area. Do not remain in your vehicle or attempt to outrun a tornado;

• Flying debris (such as glass, wood and other objects) pose the greatest danger to your safety during tornadoes;

• If you are caught outdoors with no shelter available, your safest position is to lie flat in a ditch, ravine or other low-lying area and shield your head with your arms;

It is critical that you are ready to take action to protect yourself and your family during an emergency. This includes knowing the risks, making a plan and having an emergency kit.

Naturally, government agencies are key resources. Emergency Management Ontario provides information specific to situations more likely to arise in Barrie.

Additionally, Public Safety Canada (www.getprepared.gc.ca) has developed a customizable emergency plan to help all Canadians be prepared.

Canadians need to be ready to act when an emergency situation occurs.

Fortunately, there are many organizations to turn to for information on how to prepare for a disaster.

For instance, the Red Cross provides instructions on its website (www.redcross.ca) on what to include in an emergency plan, such as establishing a safe place for family to meet and creating an evacuation plan.

The Insurance Bureau of Canada (www.ibc.ca) lists the items to make an emergency kit with 72 hours of supplies. And March of Dimes Canada (www.marchofdimes.ca) provides emergency preparedness tips for the disabled community.

Readiness, however, is only half of the equation. Canadians also need to be alerted of when it’s time to take action.

The Weather Network plays a key role here by delivering real-time information on active and extreme weather situations across all of its media platforms, as well as facilitating the delivery of potentially life-saving alerts to Canadians.

Paul Temple is the senior vice-president, regulatory and strategic affairs for Pelmorex (The Weather Network and MétéoMédia).