Tornado Preparedness, How to Stay Safe
Tornado preparedness is important. Strong thunderstorms and tornadoes have already affected parts of the country this spring, with news coverage showing the damage, devastation and fatalities those communities have experienced. Tornadoes can reach speeds of 300 miles per hour and can hit quickly, so you want to make sure you know what to do before, during and after the storm comes through.
- Put an emergency kit together, stocked with enough food, water and supplies to last at lest 72 hours.
- Create an emergency plan with the entire family that includes how you will get to a safe place, how you will contact each other and how to handle several situations.
- Listen to the weather report either on the radio or on television to get the latest updates. Always follow instructions given by local emergency management officials.
- Look for the danger signs:
- Dark or greenish sky
- A dark, low hanging cloud
- Loud roaring sounds
- Large hail
- Prepare to take shelter immediately if you see or hear of approaching storms
- Seek shelter IMMEDIATELY. Protect your head from flying debris.
- If you are in a structure, such as your home, a school or shopping center:
- Go to a pre-designated safe room or basement, staying away from windows and doors.
- In a high rise, go to a small interior room or hallway.
- Do not open any windows.
- If you are in a manufactured home, such as a mobile home or office:
- Leave immediately to pre-identified location (storm shelter, lowest floor of a sturdy building).
- If you are outside with no nearby shelter:
- Get into a vehicle and try to drive to the closest sturdy structure. If debris is flying around your car, pull over.
- Take cover in a stationary vehicle – don’t forget the seatbelt. Keep your head covered.
- Lie in an area that is lower than the level of the roadway. Keep your head covered.
- Don’t try to outrun the tornado in an urban or congested area in your vehicle. Leave it right away and seek shelter.
- Check for injuries and get medical assistance as soon as possible. Do not try to move people who are seriously injured.
- Be aware of possible hazards in your home, and contact local building inspectors for safety code information.
- Use a flashlight when inspecting your home for damage, as candles increase the risk of fire.
- If you notice sparks or frayed wires, shut off the electrical system.
- If you notice the smell of gas, shut off your main gas valve and leave your home right away. Call the gas company immediately.
- Be careful and alert when entering any building that has been damaged by the storm.
- Wear long sleeves, gloves and sturdy shoes when handling or walking near debris.
- Don’t touch downed power lines.
- Cooperate with public safety officials.