Handling Tornado Aftermath!

Red Cross RescuerFor you, or for those with friends and family struggling with tornado damage, here is a bit of help that should get you thinking about what to do first.

Of course, your loved ones are wondering about you, and you can register at this lovely Red Cross Safe and Well site, to let them know you still exist somewhere!

After that, though, you need someone who can think for you, so here goes—a list to clear your mind get it going in the right direction:

1. Credit Cards

If all your personal banking and credit information is strewn all over the state, I’m so sorry to have to say: You need to cancel cards and put alerts on all your accounts. Call your bank and credit agencies and get their help. Probably a password on your social security number will be important.

2. Insurance

Of course, all major insurance agencies are looking up client addresses and preparing to be in your area soon, to save you time and grief. However, if you put in your claim now, you will be at the top of their list. So put in your claim. Don’t forget anything you have insured: house, car, pet, jewelry, etc.

3. Red Cross

Clara Barton would be so proud! The merciful volunteer group she started is still there to help you. Somewhere nearby you will find their trained volunteers being great help. Food, supplies, and shelter are their specialties. You likely have donated to their great cause; now reap from their good will and the storehouse of help you helped build.

4. FEMA

If your disaster receives federal relief, FEMA will be there to get you more lasting shelter, either through help with rent, or loan of trailers. Their trailers may be a shocking difference from the comforts of home, but they are furnished and will keep the weather off and the family together. Or you may prefer to purchase a camper to live on your own property. Many folks do.

5. Helpers – belongings.

You will need to sort your stuff, to find what you want to keep, in a hurry. You will want people you know and trust for this job, not strangers, no matter how kind. Do not throw out things that are only wet. There are even volunteers who will want to help you restore wet photos and other important things.

6. Helpers – trash.

You will probably have to sort all the trash on your property for pick up. Let anyone who wants to help you! And many are eager and willing and able to help! Your job will be to make sure they wear their gloves and to provide them with plenty of drinking water, if you can.

7. Rebuilding

Look for scammers. They will come. Be sure. Be very sure that anyone you hire to rebuild is for real. Victimization happens every day.

8. Smile (through your tears)

You are surrounded by support, helpers who want to see you make it through this horror. Therefore, ask for help! Don’t give up! You will find that people really want to give you help! Don’t give up hope! Don’t forget to stop and rest, eat, get sleep! For some reason, you are alive…

9. Special for all helpers:

Sometimes, the best thing you can do is stand back. Allow the professionals to have some space. Allow the victims to have some space. Do not assume you are the answer for this emergency. If you want to donate, please wait with clothing until the shelters say it is needed. What they REALLY need is

  • food, water
  • boxes, bags
  • gloves, masks, eye gear
  • boots
  • undies
  • formula, bottles, diapers
  • feminine items

Donate the above to shelters, Red Cross, churches, etc.

  • pet food, leashes, old towels, walking services

Donate these to animal shelters

If everyone who needs help will be smart enough to ask for it, and if everyone who is aching to be of some help will be smart enough to give it gently and wisely, our disasters will prove to be beautiful learning experiences for us all.

Do you live where tornadoes happen often?

Tornadoes are extremely rare in Utah, but down...
Tornadoes are extremely rare in Utah, but downtown Salt Lake City was struck by this F2 tornado in 1999, which killed one person. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Maybe I should ask, “Do you live in the United States?” because the U.S. has the most tornadoes in the world.

You thought so, didn’t you!

From 1950, when we began to keep official records, here are the 10 states that have the most tornadoes per square mile, in order of greatest to least.

  1. Florida
  2. Kansas
  3. Maryland
  4. Illinois
  5. Mississippi
  6. Iowa
  7. Oklahoma
  8. South Carolina
  9. Alabama
  10. Louisiana

Surprised? Me too. However the states that have the most notorious tornadoes are not all up there and some of the above states have lots of teensy tornadoes that don’t do much. Your highest chances of experiencing the most damaging tornado are in the following five states:

Alabama, Texas, Iowa, Kansas, or Oklahoma
They’re all tied for first.

Scared yet?

Okay, I publish this annually in one form or another, in hopes of allaying some of your anxiety about this life and death topic. This year, it’s just a list of links, but if you search “tornado” in the search window above (click on the magnifying glass for a nice surprise) you will find a few more curiosities on the subject.

Pay attention and live:

How to Prepare for Tornado Weather

Ten Steps to Tornado Safety

Story of My Tornado Experience

Story of a Stranger Who Borrowed Our House in a Tornado

A tornado near Seymour, Texas
A tornado near Seymour, Texas (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Update

A bold and brave testimony from one of the Tittle daughters. May we all raise children like her:

A day of extreme emotions here at FamilyLife. April 28, 2014

He died as he lived … protecting his family.

Rob Tittle, a FamilyLife staff member and kindred spirit warrior for the family, died last night in the tornado that crushed parts of central Arkansas. Two of his daughters—Tori, age 20, and Rebekah, 14—were among the 14 killed in the storm.

Rob, 48, and his wife Kerry, had heard the tornado warnings and were shepherding their nine children under a stairwell when the tornado disintegrated their home. Rob was doing what a man does—putting his family first—when the twister hit. All that is left is a grim grey slab of concrete.

Their 19 year old daughter posted this on Facebook: “This is… from a friend’s house, my mom, and my six brothers/sisters are alright. We have lost three of our family …

Please continue reading this lovely young woman’s testimony, and the rest of this tender report, here.

The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away: Blessed be the name of the Lord.

Behold, now is the day of salvation.

Homeschool Family Hit Hard…

I am sorry to have to report this, but I think you will want to help. The Tittle Family of Reformation Kidz , a supplier of curriculum content for home schooling families, lost three members in last night’s horrific tornado just north of Little Rock.

Mr. Tittle and two of the eldest daughters all perished in this disaster that left their home looking like this:

remains of the home

remains of the home

I only post this because I think there are those out there who would want to know what a person can do for fellow homeschoolers in such a horrible situation. You might find an answer at this link, which is to a benefit already set up for them.

Please pray about what you should do.

Thanks.