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Preparing for Tornadoes

Before the Tornado

    Your preparation should start well before there is a threat of a tornado.  Talk with your family and establish a plan.  This should include:

  • Knowing the difference between a tornado watch and tornado warning, and identifying when a tornado warning is in place.
  • Knowing where to go when there is a tornado warning.  When inside, this should be an interior room on the lowest level with no windows.  If you are caught outside, attempt to quickly find an interior shelter.  If finding a shelter is not possible, you may choose to stay in your vehicle or find an area significantly lower than the roadway to lie in.  Should you choose to stay in your vehicle:  Buckle your seat belt, keep your head below the level of the windows, and cover your head.
  • Have a survival kit prepared.  A survival kit such as our Tornado Emergency Kit will provide you with the essentials for tornado preparation.

During the Tornado

    If a tornado warning has been issued, it is time to enact the plans you previously created.  Remember, a tornado warning means that there is imminent danger to life and/or property, and a tornado has either been radar indicated or sighted.  Check out our blog post on why you should not be complacent when it comes to tornado (or any) warnings issued by the National Weather Service.  Make sure to get to a safe place and remain there until the threat is over.

After the Tornado

    Once the tornado threat is over, there are likely to still be significant dangers remaining.  You will want to keep in mind several important points:

  • Do a head count of the people you have included in your preparedness plan.  Make sure there are no injuries, and administer first aid to those that need it until first responders are on scene.
  • If your house or area suffered damage, watch out for damaged gas and power lines.  Report any damage you see, refrain from approaching downed power lines, and do not use candles when inspecting your house or buildings.  
  • If your house was damaged, get out when it is safe to do so.  Do not enter buildings that have been damaged.
  • If it is safe to do so, clean up spills that could become a fire hazard.
  • If you were not home, only return when you have been cleared to do so by authorities.