Preparing for a Tornado

June 3, 2013 | 1 comment(s)

large tornado over the road (3D rendring)

The following information on preparing for and responding to tornadoes is taken from the FEMA web site at www.fema.gov/hazard/tornado/index.shtm.

 Before a Tornado: How to Plan

  • Conduct tornado drills each tornado season.
  • Designate an area in the home as a shelter, and practice having everyone in the family go there in response to a tornado threat.
  • Discuss with family members the difference between a "tornado watch" and a "tornado warning."
  • Contact your local emergency management office or American Red Cross chapter for more information on tornadoes.

Have disaster supplies on hand:

  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • Portable, battery-operated radio and extra batteries
  • First aid kit and manual
  • Emergency food and water
  • Non-electric can opener
  • Essential medicines
  •  Cash and credit cards
  • Sturdy shoes

Develop an emergency communication plan

In case family members are separated from one another during a tornado (a real possibility during the day when adults are at work and children are at school), have a plan for getting back together. Ask an out-of-state relative or friend to serve as the "family contact." After a disaster, it's often easier to call long distance. Make sure everyone in the family knows the name, address, and phone number of the contact person.

Tornado Watches and Warnings

A tornado watch is issued by the National Weather Service when tornadoes are possible in your area. Remain alert for approaching storms. This is time to remind family members where the safest places within your home are located, and listen to the radio or television for further developments.

A tornado warning is issued when a tornado has been sighted or indicated by weather radar.

Mobile Homes

Mobile homes are particularly vulnerable. A mobile home can overturn very easily even if precautions have been taken to tie down the unit. When a tornado warning is issued, take shelter in a building with a strong foundation. If shelter is not available, lie in a ditch or low-lying area a safe distance from the unit.

Tornado Danger Signs

Learn these tornado danger signs:

  • An approaching cloud of debris can mark the location of a tornado even if a funnel is not visible.
  • Before a tornado hits, the wind may die down and the air may become very still.
  • Tornadoes generally occur near the trailing edge of a thunderstorm. It is not uncommon to see clear, sunlit skies behind a tornado.

During a Tornado

If at home:

  • If you have a tornado safe room or engineered shelter, go there immediately.
  • Go at once to a windowless, interior room; storm cellar; basement; or lowest level of the building.
  • If there is no basement, go to an inner hallway or a smaller inner room without windows, such as a bathroom or closet.
  • Get away from the windows.
  • Get under a piece of sturdy furniture such as a workbench or heavy table or desk and hold on to it.
  • Use arms to protect head and neck.
  • If in a mobile home, get out and find shelter elsewhere.

If at work or school:

  • Go to the area designated in your tornado plan.
  • Avoid places with wide-span roofs such as auditoriums, cafeterias, large hallways, or shopping malls.
  • Get under a piece of sturdy furniture such as a workbench or heavy table or desk and hold on to it.
  • Use arms to protect head and neck.

If outdoors:

  • If possible, get inside a building.
  • If shelter is not available or there is no time to get indoors, lie in a ditch or low-lying area or crouch near a strong building. Be aware of the potential for flooding.
  • Use arms to protect head and neck.

If in a car:

  • Never try to out-drive a tornado in a car or truck.
  • Get out of the car immediately and take shelter in a nearby building.
  • If there is no time to get indoors, get out of the car and lie in a ditch or low-lying area away from the vehicle. Be aware of the potential for flooding.

When a tornado is coming, you have only a short amount of time to make life-or-death decisions. Advance planning and quick response are the keys to surviving a tornado.

After a Tornado

  • Help injured or trapped persons.
  • Give first aid when appropriate.
  • Don't try to move the seriously injured unless they are in immediate danger of further injury.
  • Call for help.
  • If you smell gas, do not turn on any appliances or switches. This includes using phones, flashlights or a cell phone.
  • Turn on the radio or television to get the latest emergency information.
  • Stay out of damaged buildings. Return home only when authorities say it is safe.
  • Use the telephone only for emergency calls.
  • Clean up spilled medicines, bleaches, or gasoline or other flammable liquids immediately. Leave the buildings if you smell gas or chemical fumes.
  • Take pictures of the damage--both to the house and its contents--for insurance purposes.
  • Remember to help your neighbors who may require special assistance--infants, the elderly, and people with disabilities.

When a tornado is coming, you have only a short amount of time to make life-or-death decisions. Advance planning and quick response are the keys to surviving a tornado.


This post was posted in Insight, Disaster Scenarios

Comments

  • Latinoamerica  |  September 27, 2013

    candles, hurricane lamps, ltrihegs, flashlights, extra batteries and bulbs, bottled water, canned foods with manual can opener, a multi-tool, pocket knife, radio and a fully stocked first aid kit. I move a lot so some times I'll add other things too it like rain ponchos, but the essential items are water, food, first aid kit, and light. In first aid kits the medicines and ointments have expiration dates.. so does food and such.. so it is wise to rotate things out once in a while and double check the kit since sometimes people like to ninja batteries or band aids from it instead of informing me we're low on the household stock. Kids.

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