Tornados can form quickly, so it’s important to make your emergency plans before a storm ever hits your area. Preparedness is the best way to improve your chances in a storm. Create a plan for your family that includes a safe shelter, then practice tornado drills with your family at least once a year to ensure everyone knows what to do and where to go.
If you are at home, your tornado shelter will depend on where you live and the kind of home you have.
- If you live in a house with a basement, go to your basement and avoid windows. Get under something sturdy. Avoid areas where something heavy is on the floor above you and corners where debris may gather. Crouch low to the floor with your head down and cover your head.
- If you live in a house without a basement, go to the lowest floor and into an interior room with no windows. Again, crouch low to the floor with your head down and cover your head.
- If you live in a mobile home, get out! Even homes that are tied down are no safe in the path of a tornado. Instead, go to a shelter or other permanent structure.
No matter what kind of home you have, stock up on thick blankets and other soft coverings that can protect you and your family from flying debris in the event of a tornado. It’s best to have these items stocked in your shelter so that you can grab them when danger is approaching. When you are crouched to the floor, use those items as a protective layer over your body and especially your head.
If a storm hits while you are at work, your company should have an emergency plan that includes a safe shelter. Many companies even practice emergency drills and/or have safety captains to help direct people in an emergency.
- If you are in an office building or a hospital, go to an interior stairwell or other interior windowless location on the lowest floor possible. Do not try to take the elevator, as the power can be knocked out by storms.
- If you are in a school, follow the rules of your tornado drill. Get to an interior location, crouch low to the ground with your head down and protect the back of your head.
In a storm, your safety is most important. Do not hesitate to get yourself and your family to safety. If you hear weather alerts on your Halo+ or tornado sirens in your area, treat them seriously.
For more information about Tornado Safety, you can visit: http://www.spc.noaa.gov/faq/tornado/safety.html