The Storm Warriors rolled into Lubbock Wednesday and spoke with EverythingLubbock.com about their suggestions for South Plains residents this storm season.
The Storm Warriors are a family-based team that travels around tornado alley and states impacted by severe storms.
“Our whole team is search-and-rescue, we carry equipment in the truck to help communities impacted by these severe storms,” said Bill Ford who founded Storm Warriors.
While Ford and his family members were just passing through Lubbock in their storm chasing vehicle on Wednesday, they stayed for a while longer as they realized the amount of flooding Lubbock had experienced during the day. The Storm Warriors are trained in high water rescue and were ready to help out in the Hub City should anyone have needed assistance.
They are equipped to provide different kinds of support for people who’ve been through damaging storms, they are certified to administer first aid and AED devices, they also drive in a vehicle stocked with plenty of emergency supplies.
A week ago, the Storm Warriors traveled from their base in Weatherford, TX to respond to the tornadoes in the panhandle. In the town of Lakeview, they offered help to places that had been damaged by the storms.
“We fell in love with the people there and the purpose of their town so we came back a few days later and helped them rebuild their little community center,” Ford explained.
The Storm Warriors project began in 1999 when Ford was storm chasing in Oklahoma. A powerful tornado passed through Moore, Oklahoma and Ford witnessed devastation in the area following the storm.
“I drove home just telling myself I would never put myself in that situation again, unable to help the people and their lives were changed in just a few moments,” he said. In the years to come, he became a “storm warrior” and brought his family members into the project as well.
His daughter, Cori, Ford now acts as the navigator-in-training for the Storm Warriors vehicle. She explained that when they travel to locations in anticipation of severe weather, one if the biggest hurdles is making sure the public is educated about how to protect themselves from the storm.
Storm Warrior Tips
“Often times the most dangerous part of a storm isn’t just a tornado, there can be large damaging hail, there can also be large amounts of rain that cause flooding,” Cori said. “We always say ‘turn around don’t drown’, don’t drive through high water because even just a foot of water can carry your car away.”
She recommends that drivers who find themselves in severe weather drive away from the storm and seek shelter as soon as possible.
One of the Storm Warriors’ key principles is that no one should have to die from a tornado. Which is why Cori explained that she and her family travel to places like Lubbock where tornadoes have passed through before, making sure that people know what to prepare before disaster strikes.
“One thing that we always say to have is a ‘go-bag’, a bag that you can have if you’re displaced for an amount of time,” she explained. She also recommends setting aside a flashlight in your go-bag, cash, and printed photos of your loved ones in case you are separated from them.
Cori explained that often the safest place during a tornado may not necessarily be your home, but instead a structure at a nearby school or church that is well covered. Her father added that when weather advisories grow concerning, it’s important to seek out a safe place, even if doing so is inconvenient at the time.
“If you have a manufactured or mobile home [during a tornado] you need to get out because manufactured or mobile homes can be blown down with simply strong winds, so there’s no need to stay in that home,” Cori explained.
She added that the safest place during a storm is underground, but if that isn’t an option people should seek shelter in a place with no outside walls and plenty of structure. She said that families need to designate a safe place ahead of time and have a game plan of how to get there when a storm approaches.
The Storm Warriors anticipate working to assist in many more areas around the country this storm season. To find out more of their safety tips or to watch their life stream, go to their website.