Protect Your Home: Tornado Preparedness
Know Your Tornado Terms
It is important to know the proper tornado terms to understand what to do. Also, the terms dictate the severity of the storm and how close it is from you. Because of this, you should be aware of the terms and easily understand the differences. A tornado watch means that a tornado may happen. You should watch for it by listening to the radio for weather updates, watch the television news report or watch the sky. Tornados have natural warning signs in the color of the sky and the strength in the wind. A tornado warning means that a tornado has been seen or has begun to form or weather radars have noticed a funnel cloud. If your area has issued a tornado warning, you should evacuate or find a safe place for shelter immediately. Remember, a watch means to watch, wait and prepare. A warning means take cover and stay safe.
What to do Before a Tornado
If you are noticing a change in your weather, or are concerned about a potential tornado, be sure to stay informed. Listen to the weather radio channel, your regular radio stations for new flashes or your local news for meteorology reports. Make sure to pay attention to the natural warning signs in the sky, while staying safe. If the sky begins to look dark or a deep green, make sure to take cover. Large hail is another warning sign that a tornado is on its way. If you see a big, dark cloud that is close or starting to rotate, immediately seek shelter. Tornados generally make a loud sound, like a roar that sounds like a train. If you see or hear a tornado, you need to take cover immediately.
What to do During a Tornado
If a tornado warning has been issued, you must immediately seek cover. Proper shelter is determined according to where you are. If you are in a structure, such as your home, school, office or in a small business you should first try to find a basement if there is not a designated storm shelter. For buildings without a lower level, you should go to the center of the lowest room. Try to stay away from windows as glass can break, from doors as they can swing and from corner walls that can be destroyed. Try to take cover under a table and put your arms over your neck and head for protection. Make sure to leave windows shut and doors closed.
A tornado may hit while you are in your car or another mobile vehicle like a trailer or mobile home. You should immediately leave the vehicle and try to find a low and sturdy building. If you are outside without protection, lay in a ditch flat with your hands over your neck and head. Avoid bridges or overpasses as a tornado may destroy them. The safest place you can be is low and flat but be careful of flooding waters. Be careful for things that may be flying, as debris causes the most injury and death during tornados. Never think that you can drive away from, or outrun a tornado.
What to do After a Tornado
Tornados can cause a variety of damage, from property to personal. After a tornado has passed, check to make sure other people are okay. Help out people who are hurt or stuck and call for help when necessary. Check with local news and radio for current information. Stay away from buildings that have been damaged or areas that have a lot of debris. Try to avoid making phone calls, unless it is an emergency. Clean up waste spills, including gasoline, bleach and medicines. Remember to take plenty of pictures for your insurance.