11 Tips Sure to Help You Survive a Tornado
Prepare your home and family for severe weather season with these tips for staying safe during a tornado.
Have a Plan
The time to prepare for severe weather is when there isn’t a cloud in the sky. Take a few minutes and put together a family survival plan. It’ll help keep your loved ones and your home safe. For more in detail information about what you can to right now to prepare for a storm click here.
It is also important to create an essential phone numbers list and store in a safe, readily available place. Create your own here.
Know the Difference Between a Tornado Warning and a Watch
Think of a tornado watch as a call to be prepared and think of a tornado warning as a call to action. A tornado warning is issued when tornadoes are possible in and near the watch area. It’s a time to review emergency plans, check supplies and your safe room. A warning means a tornado has been spotted or shown on weather radar. It’s a time to move to an interior room on the lowest level of a building. Warnings are for specific areas, usually the size of a city or small county while watches typically cover more ground. Plus: Are emergency generators necessary?
Safe Rooms Save Lives!
Tornadoes touch down an average of 1,000 times every year in the United States, and they’ve killed 1,000 people in the last 10 years. When a tornado with wind speeds over 250 mph hits a house, the house WILL NOT survive, but you and your family can. A properly constructed safe room/storm shelter provides close to absolute protection.
Not only will a safe room save your life, you may be eligible to receive a discount on your homeowners insurance. And some states offer a generous rebate for residents who choose to build one.
Stock the Shelter with Emergency Supplies
Don’t treat a safe room as a storage closet. Keep it organized and ready to go. And FEMA suggests stocking it with the storm kit items:
• Battery-powered or crank-operated flashlight to inspect your home or office after the tornado has passed, including spare batteries.
• Battery-powered or crank-operated radio to listen for emergency updates and news reports.
• First aid kit.
• Complete change of clothing, including a long-sleeved shirt, long pants, work gloves, and sturdy, thick-soled shoes. These will protect you from further injury by broken glass, exposed nails, or other objects.
• Whistle or air horn to notify rescuers in case you are trapped by debris resulting from the tornado.
• Dust mask to protect you from inhaling particles and fine debris.
• Food and water for a day or two; consider specific dietary considerations.
• Your medications and medical supplies.
• If you have children, a special item (e.g., stuffed animal, book, game) to provide comfort.
• Important documents including homeowner’s insurance info. You never know what homeowner’s insurance will cover.
Stay Away From Windows
The high winds of a tornado cause massive damage and windows are among the first things broken. Stay away from the potential of flying glass by finding an interior room on the lowest level in the house.
Move to a protected interior room on the lowest floor of the house, as far as possible from exterior walls and windows. Use pillows, cushions, blankets or mattresses to protect yourself from flying debris.
Ignore the Myths
Don’t open windows to “equalize the pressure” no matter what your grandparents told you. This can cause even greater damage. And the southwest corner of the basement may not be the safest spot to hunker down, especially if it’s near an outside wall or window.
Bring a radio with you to your place of shelter so you’ll know when the danger has passed.
What to Do When Stranded Outside During a Tornado
If you are caught outdoors and no shelter is available, crawl into a ditch, depression or culvert and cover yourself, protecting your head. Stay away from trees and cars, which may be blown on top of you. Find out what you need to do following a storm to clean up.
What to Do When Driving in Severe Weather
If you’re in a vehicle, and the traffic is light, you may be able to drive out of the path of the tornado by driving at right angles to it. Otherwise, park your car quickly and safely, off the road. However tempting, don’t park under bridges,which can cause a traffic danger while giving you little protection.