To stay safe during a tornado, prepare a plan and an emergency kit, stay aware of weather conditions during thunderstorms, know the best places to shelter both indoors and outdoors, and always protect your head.
Tornadoes continue to impact locations across the country every year, bringing massive winds and destruction in their paths. The 2016 tornado season claimed the lives of 18 individuals and injured another 325. Seventy-eight percent of those victims were in a mobile home or trailer park at the time of the tornado. These storms caused an estimated $183 million in property damage. You can survive a tornado if you follow safety precautions. Here are three important tips to help keep you safe.
TIP ❶: Be prepared.
The best way to stay safe during a tornado is to be prepared with:
- fresh batteries and a battery-operated TV, radio, or internet-enabled device to listen to the latest emergency
- a tornado emergency plan including access to a “safe shelter” for yourself and for people with special needs
- an emergency kit (including water, non-perishable food, and medication)
- a list of important information, including telephone numbers.
Make sure your children know what a tornado is, what tornado watches and warnings are, what county they live in,
and what constitutes a location as a “safe shelter,” whether at home or at school.
TIP ❷: Stay aware of weather conditions.
To protect yourself and your family from harm during a tornado, pay close attention to changing weather
conditions in your area. Some tornadoes strike rapidly without time for a tornado warning. The following weather
signs may mean that a tornado is approaching:
- a dark or green-colored sky
- a large, dark, low-lying cloud
- large hail
- a loud roar that sounds like a freight train.
If you notice any of these conditions, take cover immediately, and keep tuned to local radio and TV stations or to
a NOAA weather radio or check the internet.
TIP ❸: Know where to find shelter.
Falling and flying debris cause most deaths and injuries during a tornado. Although there is no completely safe
place during a tornado, some locations are much safer than others.
- Go to the basement or an inside room without windows on the lowest floor (bathroom, closet, center hallway)
- Avoid windows
- For added protection get under something sturdy (a heavy table or workbench). Cover your body with a
blanket, sleeping bag or mattress. Protect your head with anything available.
- Do not stay in a mobile home.
- If you are in a car, do not try to outrun a tornado but instead find the nearest sturdy building.
Prepare your home and family for the possibility of a tornado. Moving to shelter quickly is easier when everyone
knows where to go, whether in your home or outdoors. Following these tips will give you the best chance for
staying safe in a tornado.
Submitted by Shelley Hill BSN R.N.