Guidelines for Preparing for Tornadoes

The major point of concern in preparing for tornadoes is proper shelter. Tornadoes can rip the roof off of a building and send cars or other debris spinning through the air. Don’t think that you don’t have to worry about tornadoes, just because you live outside the zones where tornadoes occur most often. You have to be prepared for tornadoes, just as you would other storms that can disrupt power and become life threatening. Here’s how:

At Home

Plan in advance where to run to if a tornado hits your area. The moment you get a tornado warning, you should take shelter in your basement. If you don’t have one, go to the bathroom or another room with very few windows. If you live in an apartment building, get to the basement or a neighbor’s apartment on the bottom floor. If there’s not enough time, stay in the middle of the main hallway. You need to think about your options in advance to be prepared.

Train your family what to do once they get to a safe room. When you find a safe room, stay away from windows and doors because they can break or fly open during the tornado, causing injury. Plan to stay there until the tornado passes. If you live in a mobile home, get as far away as possible from it if a tornado is coming your way. Treat it as if you were in a car and follow the guidelines listed below.

In the Car

The best way to be prepared when in your car is to know what to do and have an emergency car kit. Your first thought might be to drive away from the tornado if you’re in your vehicle. This is not a good move. Instead, grab your emergency car kit, run as far away as possible from your car, and lay down flat on the ground, preferably in a ditch. Your emergency car kit should have enough food, water and medical supplies to last you three days, as well as what you’ll need to stay warm and see at night. Don’t risk your life to get the kit if it’s in your trunk or if you don’t have enough time to get it. However, once the tornado passes, it may be a life saver as you make your way home, or wait for help to arrive.

Stay Informed

Another way to prepare for tornadoes is to buy an AM/FM receiver. You don’t want to miss any announcements about the tornado watch. How will you know what’s going on if the power goes out? You can get updates with a hand-cranked AM/FM receiver. You don’t need batteries or electricity to operate these. Just crank one up, and you’ll be able to hear reports as to whether the tornado has left the area.

The best way to learn how to prepare for tornadoes is practice, until knowing what to do becomes second nature to you. Use these guidelines to run drills and educate your family on tornado preparedness.