How to Deal with a Tornado

Shelter

Seek inside shelter if possible. If in the open, move away from a tornado’s path at a right angle. If there is no time to escape, lie flat in the nearest depression, such as a ditch or ravine.

In Office Buildings

The basement or an interior hallway on a lower floor is safest. Upper stories are unsafe. If there is no time to descend, a closet or small room with stout walls, or an inside hallway will give some protection against flying debris. Otherwise, get under heavy furniture.

In Homes With Basements

Seek refuge near the basement wall in the most sheltered and deepest below ground part of the basement. Additional protection is afforded by taking cover under heavy furniture or a workbench. Other basement possibilities are the smallest room with stout walls, or under a stairway. A storm cellar, or reinforced portion of the basement, can be planned and constructed.

In Homes Without Basements

Take cover in the smallest room with stout walls, or under heavy furniture or a tipped-over upholstered couch or chair in the center part of the house. The first floor is safer than the second (or third). If there is time, open windows partly on the side away from the direction of the storm’s approach but stay away from windows when the storm strikes since shattered glass shards can be fatal. Construction of a storm cellar is particularly advisable for homes without basements. An alternative is pre-selection of a nearby culvert or deep ditch.

Mobile Homes

Particularly vulnerable to overturning and destruction during strong winds, trailers should be abandoned in favour of a preselected shelter, even a ditch in the open. Securing the trailer with cables anchored in a concrete footing can minimize damage.

Avoid

  • Avoid factories, auditoriums, and other large buildings with wide, free span roofs.
  • Preselected shelter areas should be located in basements, smaller rooms or nearby.
  • Parked Cars Are Unsafe
  • Do not use cars as shelter during a tornado or severe windstorm; however, as a last resort, if no ravine or ditch is nearby, crawl under the car for protection from flying debris.

How To Prepare

Tornado contact with the ground (funnel cloud) occurs with very little advance warning. The wisest action is to be prepared in advance to cover all disasters (including a tornado).

  1. Emergency Kit
  2. Action Plan – Sit down as a family and discuss what action should be taken if someone is shopping, at school, at work or visiting friends.
  3. Rendezvous – Make sure part of your plan includes a meeting place and a way of communicating if separated during an emergency.
  4. Mobility – During storm season, keep a full tank of gas in the car at all times.
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