Tornado Safety

June 6, 2017

Plan Ahead

Have a plan in place with all members of the household and be sure they know it well. Practicing occasionally (especially with young children) can be helpful. 

 

Having a weather radio in a convenient location in your bedroom can help keep you informed and safe during a tornado.

 

To best prepare you and your family for disaster, also keep blankets, water and first aid supplies in your shelter area.


When a tornado watch is issued, conditions for tornadoes are possible and you should stay aware of current conditions.

When a tornado warning is issued, severe weather is anticipated by the National Weather Service and you should take cover immediately.

 

During a Tornado

How you should react to a tornado warning depends on where you are!

  • Home with Basement: Get to the basement immediately and avoid windows. Cover yourself with thick blankets or furniture if possible. Be aware of where heavy objects are located on the floor above you and avoid being directly below them. 

  • Apartment, Dorm or Home with No Basement: Get to the lowest floor you can access. Find an interior room/wall without windows, like a bathroom, closet or stairwell. Crouch as low as you can, facing the floor, and cover your head with your hands. Cover yourself with blankets or furniture, if possible.

  • Office Building:  The employer should have tornado drill instructions in place, and you should follow them to the best of your ability. Remember to get to an enclosed/windowless area, located in the center of the building whether it be a stairwell or a wall.  Get to the lowest level possible and also get as low to the ground as possible, crouch and cover your head. Do not use elevators in severe weather, as a power outage could leave you trapped. 

  • Mobile Home:  Leave immediately. Mobile homes are not safe for tornado conditions. Seek shelter nearby in a permanent structure. 

  • Vehicle:  While being in a vehicle when severe weather hits is not safe, take these measures to find safety. 

    • ​If the tornado is distant and traffic is not heavy you may be able to drive far enough away from the tornado to seek shelter.

    • If the conditions include high winds and/or flying debris, park out of traffic. Stay in the car with your seat belt on and put your head below the window and cover it with your hands. 

    • If you can safely move to a lower level of the roadway, leave your car to go lie in that area. For example, lying flat in a ditch with your head covered.

    • Avoid being under or near bridges.

  • Outdoors: If you are unable to find shelter, lie flat on the ground facing down. Get to low ground and get as far away as possible from trees, cars or anything else that could be moved by the tornado.  If you think you are able to reach shelter, do so in a sturdy building. 

  • Children at School: Follow the instructions from the person in charge. The best place to be is against an interior wall, crouched down with your head down and covered by your arms. Avoid windows and large open rooms like gyms and auditoriums.

 

After a Tornado

  • Remain calm and stay alert.

  • Stay with any people you are with and wait for emergency personnel.

  • If anyone is injured, provide aid to the best of your ability.

  • Avoid power lines, puddles near downed power lines or wires.

  • Avoid entering any buildings or homes with potential damage.

  • Do not light matches or lighters in case there may be nearby gas pipes or fuel tanks leaking natural gas.

  • Be cautious to avoid broken, glass, nails and other sharp debris.

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