If there were a tornado right now how prepared would you be? Would you know what to do? Would you know where to go? If not, here are a few important tornado safety tips you can follow to better prepare yourself in the future event of a tornado.
Before A Tornado
Tornadoes can be a scary ordeal. As one of nature’s most violent storms, all it takes to destroy a town, neighborhood, or family is a deadly tornado and a matter of minutes. These rotating, funnel-shaped clouds can produce winds that can reach 300 miles per hour. Talk about scary! Knowing how to prepare yourself before a tornado strikes is key to surviving. You and your family should talk about what to do in case of a tornado. Come up with a plan and purchase or pack an emergency kit with blankets, pillows, flashlights, etc. so that if a tornado ever does strike in the future, you will already be prepared and will have to spend very little time getting together emergency supplies and figuring out what to do next. Know different weather terms, for instance — the difference between a tornado watch and a tornado warning. A tornado watch means that a tornado is possible. A tornado warning means that a tornado has been sighted or indicated by weather radar. Seek shelter immediately. It is also important to know the danger signs of a tornado:
- Sudden change in weather.
- It is not uncommon for there to be a calm before a tornado strikes. It can even be sunny before a tornado strikes.
- Dark, or greenish skies.
- Large hail.
- Strong winds.
- Loud thunder, with a sound that resembles a freight train
- Large, dark, low-lying clouds (may be rotating)
During A Tornado
If a tornado warning has been issued then you should seek shelter immediately! Never hesitate to take shelter just because the weather doesn’t look like there will be a tornado, as mentioned before it is not uncommon for a tornado to strike suddenly without any notice. Most injuries associated with tornadoes occur from flying debris, so remember to protect your head. Be sure to have a battery powered radio, television or a cell phone or laptop with internet access to get updates on the storm. During a tornado you should take the following steps:
If you are in:
A residence, apartment, dorm, school, hospital, shopping center, office, etc. – If you are in a residence such as a home or a building then you should go to a pre-designated safe room such as a basement, underground storm cellar, or some other type of safe room. Individuals in an apartment or building with more than one story should seek shelter in the center of a small interior room on the lowest level, away from corners, windows, doors, and walls. This might be a bathroom, closet, hallway, or under a stairwell. Try to put as many walls between you and outside as possible. Get under or inside something sturdy (i.e. under a table, inside a bathtub, in front of lockers, etc.) and using your arms to protect your head and neck, kneel with your head down by your lap.
A mobile home – Get out immediately and seek nearby safe shelter such as a basement, storm cellar, or nearby building. Mobile homes are one of the most dangerous places you can be during a tornado, and even those mobile homes that are tied down offer very little protection during a violent tornado. Make sure the shelter you seek is sturdy and on the lowest floor possible when relocating.
Outdoors Or In A Vehicle- If you are outdoors or in a vehicle when a tornado strikes there is no telling what type of situation you might be in, and therefore last minute thinking and last-resort action are key in survival. There is really no single right answer for what to do in this type of scenario. Use your best judgement. However, possible actions you could take include:
- Driving to the closest nearby, sturdy shelter.
- Try to seek lower, flat, ground.
- Take cover in a stationary vehicle. Keep your seatbelt on and using your arms, a blanket, or cushion, protect your arms and neck if possible.
- Never get under a bridge or underpass. This can result in fatality.
- Be on the lookout for change in tornado patterns or flying debris.
After A Tornado
After a tornado it is important to be extremely cautious when leaving shelter. It is usually best to stay put until all tornado warnings have been canceled. If applicable, check for injuries. Never attempt to move seriously injured individuals unless they are in immediate danger of further injury. Seek or contact medical help immediately. If someone isn’t breathing, if you know how to, begin CPR. If somebody is bleeding, apply pressure to the wound to try and stop the bleeding. If trapped, try to call out or attract attention to the area you are in. Continue to monitor emergency updates and weather, and be careful when entering any structures that have been damaged. Never touch downed power lines or broken glass, and be on the lookout for gas leaks, strange odors, frayed wiring or sparks.
Tornado Safety Spc.noaa.gov/faq/tornado/safety.html
Tornado Preparedness Kit buyemergencyfoods.com