Tornadoes are relatively uncommon in Fairfield County, but then again so are back-to-back blizzards, and we all know how real those were this past (thankfully) winter. But with the recent and deadly outbreak of massive tornadoes striking to our south — and a season full of potentially dramatic weather set to follow — now is a good time to prepare for meteorologic mayhem.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers some advice for staying safe before, during and after a tornado.

Develop a tornado emergency plan with your family, which should include a specific place in your home you'll use as a shelter, as well as the locations and use of first-aid kits and fire extinguishers. First-aid kits should be stored in a plastic tool or fishing tackle box so they are portable and waterproof.

Inspect your house for hazards. Heavy items, for example, can fall  and should be stored on low shelves. Toxic substances (cleansers, bug killers and fertilizer) should be safely contained in water and air-tight containers.

Talk to a general contractor about your home's structural integrity: Areas of connection – top plates — between wall studs and roof rafters — should be strengthened with hurricane clips.

Tornadoes do not always have funnel clouds like the one in "The Wizard of Oz." Large, dark, low-lying clouds can also signal an imminent tornado. Stay tuned to local radio and TV, or to the NOAA radio station for updates on tornado warnings.

If you do see a funnel cloud or other signs of a tornado, take cover immediately. Flying debris causes most tornado-related deaths and injuries.

Your shelter location should vary depending on where you are when a tornado strikes. At home, get as far away from windows as possible. The basement is the safest place, but if you don't have one,  an inside room with no windows, such as a closet or bathroom, is a good substitute.

Cars aren't where you want to be during a tornado. If a storm cell approaches while you're driving, stop, get out and find a safe shelter spot. Try to avoid areas with many trees and look for a low to the ground place, such as a gully or a ditch.

Remember after the extreme weather has passed, you're not necessarily out of the woods. Be sure to stay away from all downed wires and power lines.

Do you have a tornado readiness plan? Please share details about it with me here, or find me on facebook to continue the discussion.