Preparing for Tornadoes
- Get a NOAA Weather Radio with warning alarm tone and battery backup to get information directly from the National Weather Service. This is the quickest way to learn that a tornado is heading your way. Many models are available.
- Know what tornado watch and tornado warning mean.
- Determine in advance where you will take cover in case of a tornado warning. Keep this safe location uncluttered.
- Storm cellars or basements provide the best protection.
- If underground shelter is not available, go into a windowless interior room, closet or hallway on the lowest floor possible.
- Stay away from windows, doors and outside walls. Go to the center of the room. Stay away from corners because they attract debris.
- If you are in a high-rise building, you may not have enough time to go to the lowest floor. Pick a place in a hallway in the center of the building.
- A vehicle, trailer or mobile home does not provide good protection. Plan to go quickly to a building with a strong foundation, if possible.
- Get a kit of emergency supplies. Store it in your shelter location.
- Practice tornado drills at least once a year
- When a tornado watch is issued, stay tuned to local radio, TV and NOAA weather radio for further information and possible warnings. Be prepared to take cover.
- When a tornado warning is issued, take cover in your safe location immediately or on the lowest level of the nearest substantial building. Protect your body from flying debris with a heavy blanket, pillows, sofa cushions or mattress.
- If you can’t get to your safe location or the lowest level of a substantial building:
- Open buildings (shopping mall, gym or civic center): Try to get into a restroom or interior hallway. If there is no time, get up against something that will support or deflect falling debris. Protect your head by covering it with your arms.
- Cars and trucks: Get out of your vehicle and try to find shelter inside a sturdy building. A culvert or ditch can provide shelter if a substantial building is not nearby. Lie down flat and cover your head with your hands. Do not get under an overpass or bridge. You are safer in a low, flat location.
- Outdoors. Try to find shelter immediately in the nearest substantial building. If no buildings are close, lie down flat in a ditch or depression and cover your head with your hands.
- Mobile homes:Do not stay in mobile homes. Leave immediately and seek shelter inside a nearby sturdy building, or lie down in a ditch away from your home, covering your head with your hands. Mobile homes are extremely unsafe during tornadoes.
- Stay in your safe location until the danger has passed.
- Stay out of damaged buildings and stay clear of downed power lines
- Help injured or trapped people. Check on those who might need special assistance, such the elderly, children and people with disabilities.