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What's in a watch and warning

TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. -- During severe weather season in Oklahoma it's critical to understand the difference between a tornado watch and a tornado warning and the safety precaustions that should be followed in each situation.

Tornado Watch
Monitor local radio/television stations for current information. Implement unit tornado watch and tornado shelter preparations.

· Review your tornado shelter checklist.
· Check first aid and shelter kit and ensure supplies are available.
· Ensure shelter area is clear of debris.
· Put batteries in flashlights.
· Check communications.
· Monitor weather radios.
· Determine when to relocate to designated shelter or dismiss personnel.
· Consider cancelling or curtailing training events.
· Curtail or prohibit routine business movement outside of unit facilities.
· Use sign out boards to account for personnel and visitors away from duty sections.
· Implement unit procedures for assisting the handicapped as necessary. Consider sending the "Movement Impaired" to  shelters early.

Notify all on duty unit personnel of weather conditions. Ensure notification of personnel working in high noise areas. Ensure personnel are briefed of tornado shelter locations. Secure or shelter outdoor equipment and materials if time permits. Take cover immediately and dial 911 upon spotting a tornado. Know your UCC phone number and ensure it is available in the shelter for notifications, personnel accountability and further instructions.

Tornado Warning
· Notify personnel to take immediate cover. Attempt to identify and shelter any visitors. Account for all on duty personnel. Ensure all personnel remain in shelter until notified through your chain of command that the tornado warning is canceled.
· Personnel must not be permitted to leave shelter until the outside has been assessed for life-threatening hazards.
· Monitor local media and weather radios for current situation updates. The tornado warning cancelation will NOT be sounded using the base siren system.
· Additional sirens indicate a new tornado threat. Notification will be sent through the unit chain of command or provided by emergency responders when necessary.
· Account for all on duty personnel. Perform damage assessment. Report damage to the Unit Control Center and Emergency Operations Center. Remember to identify and account for any visitors in your shelter, by name and organization, and identify when they leave the shelter area. Assist the injured and call 911 for badly injured personnel.