DENVER (CBS4) – It’s tough to think about tornadoes and thunderstorms when it’s cold and snowing outside, but the American Red Cross says severe weather season is here and Coloradans need to be ready.

The Red Cross says taking action now will save people a lot of headaches later. One way to do that is to have an emergency preparedness bag. Another way is to have a family emergency plan that does not just rely on the cellphone.

“How you going to contact each other if the cell towers are down? Pick an out-of-state contact who you guys can all call … that person can then relay they information to the rest of your family so if the phone lines are jammed people can Aunt Suzie out-of-state to find out how the rest of you are doing,” American Red Cross Communications Director Patricia Billinger said.

Billinger says in the event of a tornado like the one that struck the Dallas-Fort Worth area on Tuesday, a family should have two meeting places to gather — one inside the neighborhood and one outside the neighborhood. People should also be prepared to survive on their own for 72 hours.

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“The reason it is 72 hours — three days — you might think, ‘Why is no one going to help me?’ It might not be that they can’t help you, it’s that they might not be able to get to you, or you might not be able to get out to the Red Cross shelter,” Billinger said.

Those under a tornado warning should go to the lowest floor in their home. The safest place is the basement. Those without a basement should go to the first floor to an interior room like a bathroom

Practice tornado drills now.

Don’t forget about pets in the emergency plan and don’t forget about all medications, including any for pets. In the event of an evacuation, make sure cats and dogs are brought along.

LINK: American Red Cross

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