There are many things that you can do at any time to prepare for a tornado. Many of these will also help you plan for any other variety of emergency.
Create a kit: Make sure you have basic disaster supplies on hand and easily accessible. These supplies should include:
• Extra batteries
• Portable battery-operated radio and extra batteries or other alternative energy powered radio
• First-aid kit
• First-aid 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". Make sure everyone in the family knows your plan and how to reach your out-of-state contact.
Tornado Watches and Warnings: Know the difference between a tornado watch and a tornado warning.
•A tornado watch 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: According to FEMA, there are some danger signs that you should look for:
• Dark, often greenish sky
• Large hail
• A large, dark, low-lying cloud (particularly if rotating)
• Loud roar, similar to a freight train
If you notice any of these signs, or there is a tornado warning in your area, be prepared to Replace safe shelter immediately.