Severe Weather Awareness: Tornado Safety

What can you do to protect yourself and your family in the event of a tornado?

The best thing to do is to have a plan of action in place before threatening weather develops. The Red Cross has a Tornado Safety Checklist available to help you make your plan.

Know what the difference is between a watch and warning.

  • A Tornado Watch means conditions are favorable for tornadoes to develop, but there is not an imminent threat.
  • A Tornado Warning means a tornado has been detected and an imminent threat to life and property has developed.

Know your area (including the name of your county) so you can track storms via weather radio, local TV, radio reports or the internet. Make sure you have battery backup. Monitor area forecasts to know if threatening weather is possible when you are planning outdoor activities.

If a tornado is imminent and you are in a home or building, move to a pre-designated shelter on the lowest floor, such as a basement, or a small interior room closet, bathroom or hallway and get under a sturdy piece of furniture. Remember to always put as many walls as possible between you and the outside. Stay away from windows.

Get out of automobiles. Do not try to outrun a tornado in your car. If you are caught outside or in a vehicle lie flat in a nearby ditch or depression, but be aware of possible flooding, and cover your head with your hands.
Mobile homes are not a safe place to be during severe weather. You should leave a mobile home and go the lowest floor of sturdy nearby building or a storm shelter.

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