Tornado Emergency Preparedness Tips

tornado emergency preparedness

Tornados are some of the hardest natural disasters to prepare for because they often strike fairly unexpectedly and very quickly. Unlike hurricanes and snowstorms, you don’t see them coming with several days of warning. Because of this, it is very important that you have a tornado emergency plan in place and you are prepared at all times in areas prone to storms forming tornados.

Prepare Ahead Of Time

Things will move fast when a tornado hits. You won’t have a lot of time to plan and prepare. The more you can get done well ahead of time, the better. Start by determining the safest place in your home to get though the storm. Stay away from windows, doors, and outside walls. Basements are ideal, otherwise, stay on the lowest floor possible and put as many walls as possible between you and the outside.

Once you’ve figured out your safe room, prepare a small emergency kit that includes things like a flashlight, weather radio, a whistle and some bottled water and food. A first aid kit is also a good addition. Keep this kit in your safe room.

Now is also a good time to create an emergency contact plan. Make sure you have phone numbers for your children’s schools on hand at all times. Have the kids memorize your mobile phone numbers. Talk about what could happen and what you want them to do should they be at school or at a friend’s house when a tornado strikes.

Watch the Weather When the Conditions Exist

Pay close attention to the news, emergency services, warning sirens, etc. when weather conditions are favorable for tornados. During a tornado watch, tornados are possible. If a tornado warning is issued, a tornado has been observed either in person or via radar. Take shelter immediately until the danger passes.

If you are outside, you’ll notice a very dark sky with almost greenish undertones. Tornados often come along with dark, low clouds and large hail. If you hear a loud noise that sounds like an incoming train or if you see a spinning cloud formation heading your way, take shelter immediately. The same holds true if you hear tornado sirens.

Find A Safe Place To Wait It Out

If you are at home, follow your tornado emergency plan and head to your designated safe spot. Away from home, find the safest spot you can using the same criteria as mentioned above. If you are outside, seek shelter if at all possible and avoid bridges and overpasses. If you can’t gain entrance to a sturdy building, find a low spot and cover your head with your arms and anything else you have like a blanket or jacket.