Preparedness is the best lifeline

Published 9:27 pm Monday, March 29, 2010

I don’t believe that it’s possible to fully realize the power of weather until you have lived through a tornado.

I’m not speaking from experience; I have never been close to a tornado or heard the “freight train” sound as described by many people.

But I do know people who have had very close encounters with some of the worst tornadoes to hit our state. I have seen how a brush with deadly weather can traumatize children to the point that they are petrified with fear every time the radar screen is shown on television.

That look of terror is enough to tell me that tornadoes — and severe weather in general — is nothing to mess around with.

About the closest I have come to experiencing a tornado is watching the ‘90s film “Twister.” It seemed neat at the time, but this movie has been criticized for its use of less-than-believable sound effects. I have a hard time believing that it captures what a tornado is really like.

A few nights ago, more than one tornado was spotted in Central Alabama. One of them touched down not far from my home church. This area west of Clanton has seen its share of tornadoes before.

I am truly thankful that the worst severe weather has always missed my family.

But I’m not foolish enough to think that I’m immune to its forces.

Everybody needs to take time to go over a severe weather plan with their family. Everyone should know where the safest room in the house is located. Those living in substandard housing should be familiar with the quickest route to their nearest community shelter.

I was glad to hear of the recently announced plans to build community shelters at Union Grove and East Chilton fire departments. It’s good to know that families will have a safe place to go during any severe weather threat.

The key to survival, or at least increasing your chances of survival, is preparedness.