A tornado can strike with as little warning as 13 minutes.
They can occur in ANY part of the country as long as the conditions are right, so it’s important to BE PREPARED for one no matter where you live.
The best way you can protect yourself and your family from a tornado is to HAVE A PLAN IN PLACE ahead of time that can be put into motion as soon as you receive a tornado warning alert.
1.Make A Disaster Kit Ahead of Time
Here are just some of the recommended supplies for your basic disaster kit:
One gallon of water per person per day for at least three days
A three-day supply of non-perishable food
A battery-powered or hand crank radio
A first aid kit
Plastic sheeting and duct tape to keep out dust-filled air
A dust mask
Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties
A wrench or pliers
A can opener
At least one cell phone with charger and a backup battery
2. KNOW THE SIGNS/WARNINGS
Whether you live in Tornado Alley or anywhere else in the country, knowing your community’s tornado warning system as well as the signs that a tornado may be about to strike is an important step to staying safe. If your area doesn’t have a warning system you can sign up for on the phone or online, The Emergency Alert System (EAS) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio provide comprehensive alerts. It’s also a good idea to familiarize yourself with your area’s emergency siren, and alert your children to it as well.
Be weather aware. I check at the STORM PREDICTION CENTER as well as the Weather Channel.It doesn’t hurt to have a weather radio either.We have one and you can hear the warning sound go off when something comes up!
Signs that a tornado might be about to hit are rotating churning clouds, a whirling dust cloud on the ground and a loud roaring sound like a nearby train. If anyone in the family hears or sees that, it’s time to head to a shelter.
3.FIND A SAFE PLACE
While a storm cellar is traditionally the safest place to be during a tornado, it’s not always possible to get to something like that. Your family should know of a few spots in and around the house that can serve as a shelter in case a storm cellar isn’t available.
If you don’t have a traditional basement, get to the middle room at the lowest point in the house. If you can, get under a heavy piece of furniture or behind a mattress, and put helmets on any children in case debris flies into the house. Stay as far away from windows as you can.
If you’re in a vehicle, don’t try to outrun the tornado — get out as soon as you can, and find shelter, covering your head and neck with a blanket or anything else you can find. If there is no shelter nearby, find a ditch and lie down in it, covering your face with your arms.
Best Advice:don’t be out and about in your car. Now that you’re weather aware you can plan on staying put since you know there’s bad weather ahead. If you live in a mobile home your ONLY plan should be to decide on a designated place to go to way ahead of time,not at the last minute.Pick back up places,in case one doesn’t work out.Maybe a friend or neighbor with a home would be willing to share some time with you at their home. If you can’t think of anyone maybe a building of some type such as a library would work(be sure to check hours),church,well built store or restaurant. Any one of those places is safer than a mobile home.
4.PRACTICE YOUR PLAN
Do a few practice drills.
If you practice the plan though, everyone, especially any young children, will be more likely to remember what to do and where to go. It’s also a great way to see if you can do it a better way or if you’re missing anything.