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Boy Scout Camp Tornado Nightmare

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Learn how to protect your family when twisters strike.

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A tornado tore through a Boy Scout camp in the remote hills of western Iowa yesterday, killing at least four people and injuring 40, reports The Associated Press. Those killed include three 13-year-old Scouts and a 14-year-old staff member who also was a Scout, said Lloyd Roitstein, with the Boy Scouts. There were 93 Scouts and 25 staff members at the camp. The campers were between 13 and 18 years old.

Reports indicate that the group had been split into two groups. One of the groups was out hiking when the storm hit, while the other group was able to take cover under tables inside a building.

How horrific this must have been for the Scouts who were hiking and could not seek shelter. It seems that this is a disaster that there was just no way to prepare for. But we asked Laurie Eclund Long, mom and emergency preparedness expert, how to stay safe in the event of a twister that strikes closer to home.

  • Pack it up: Make a "get away" bag for each family member. Include clothing, shoes and even fave toys. For documents like birth certificates and social security cards, Laurie suggests going on a "scavenger hunt" through your home and placing all your papers in one location.
  • Be prepared: Do you have enough groceries, tools and first aid supplies at home for three to seven days? You should be equipped with canned goods, tons of water, battery-powered flashlights and a weather radio. Laurie recommends the Dynamo radio/flashlight, which is kid-friendly and inexpensive. Using weather radios will help you react quickly if there is a tornado warning.
  • When it hits: Identify a safe place ahead of time, like a basement or a storm cellar, and show it your kids. If you have neither, kneel in a closet inside the house. Face the wall, and tell your children to put their hands over their heads.
  • This isn't a movie: While Helen Hunt chased tornadoes in the movie Twister, trying to outrun a tornado in your car is very unsafe. If you're in the car during a tornado warning, get out quickly and take your kids to the basement of a nearby building or lie face-down in a ditch.

"People don't realize they only have minutes to get out of their home," said Laurie, who has lost 12 family members to natural disasters. "It's important to review these safety precautions ahead of time so they're second nature when a tornado strikes."

Our thoughts go out to the Boy Scouts and their families in this difficult time.
 


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