Tornado Preparedness Safety Tips
Tornadoes are among the most violent, yet also one of the most common, weather events in the United States. They are like giant vacuum cleaners in the sky, sucking up everything in their path, including people, cars, houses, trees, and anything else that happens to be in their way. They can be very small or very large, but they can also be very weak or extremely powerful. Tornadoes typically form during the spring and summer months. They can occur at any time of day and can strike quickly and without warning. You need to be prepared to take quick action and know the best action to take.
Step 1: Know the difference between a tornado watch and a tornado warning
A tornado watch indicates that weather conditions are favorable for the formation of tornadoes over the next several hours, typically in the late afternoon. A tornado warning indicates that a tornado has actually been sighted in the area, or that radar signals indicate that a thunderstorm is producing a tornado. A tornado warning is usually issued shortly after a tornado has touched down.
Step 2: Know the signs of a tornado
Signs that a tornado may be approaching include the following:
- Rotating funnel-shaped cloud
- Approaching cloud of debris
- Dark or green-colored sky
- Large, dark, low-lying cloud
- Large hail
- Loud roar that sounds like a freight train
If you notice any of these signs take cover immediately and stay tuned to local radio and TV stations, a NOAA weather radio, or the internet.
Step 3: Create the emergency plan (according to CDC)
- Identify a safe place in your home for household members and pets to gather during a tornado.
- Sketch a floor plan of your home or walk through each room and discuss where and how to seek shelter.
- Identify a second way to exit from each room or area. If you need special equipment, such as a rope ladder, mark where it is located.
- Mark where your first-aid kit and fire extinguishers are located.
- Mark where the utility switches or valves are located so they can be turned off (if time permits) during an emergency.
- Make sure everyone understands the tornado warning system in your area.
- Teach your family how to administer basic first aid, how to use a fire extinguisher, and how and when to turn off water, gas, and electricity in your home.
- Create an emergency supply kit
- Learn the emergency dismissal policy for your child’s school.
- Make sure your children know
- What a tornado is
- What tornado watches and warnings are
- What county or parish they live in (warnings are issued by county or parish)
- How to take shelter, whether at home or at school
Step 4: Practice your plan with your family/household
– Better to practice and teach your family/household members to execute the emergency plan for them to know what will they be doing if the disaster or emergency comes.