Protect Yourself From Tornadoes

Thursday, December 20th 2007, 9:39 am
By: News 9

Tornadoes are Mother Nature's most violent storms.  In a matter of seconds a tornado can destroy a neighborhood or take a life. 

Every year about 1,000 tornadoes touchdown in the U.S., while some are clearly visible others develop rapidly with little warning.  Tornadoes generally occur near the trailing edge of a thunderstorm.  The first step in staying safe from a tornado is staying tuned into NEWS 9 Chief Meteorologist Gary England and the NEWS 9 weather team.  If a tornado watch or warning is issued in your area Gary and his staff of meteorologists will hit the airwaves and will let you know when and where the storms will strike.

Tornado Safety Tips

  • The best shelter from a tornado is a basement or storm cellar. If neither one is available, go to an inside room without windows on the lowest level of the building.
  • Cover yourself with something, such as pillows, a mattress or blankets.
  • Place as many walls between you and the outside as possible.
  • Mobile homes are extremely unsafe during a tornado. Seek shelter elsewhere, if possible.
  • Avoid windows. Despite popular belief, opening windows to equalize pressure has no effect in reducing damage during a tornado.
  • Be aware of the counties, cities and towns that are near you. It will be easier to track the tornado's direction if you are familiar with the geography of your area.
  • If you are in a vehicle, get out immediately and go to the lowest floor of a sturdy, nearby building or a storm shelter. If there is not a building nearby, lie flat in a ditch or depression and cover your head with your hands.
  • DO NOT get under an underpass or bridge. It is not safe since it can leave you exposed to flying debris.

When tornadoes strike, proper shelter can make the difference between life and death. Because of this, many organizations make it their goal to protect those who find themselves in the path of severe weather. FEMA offers an abundance of information for those interested in constructing safe rooms for individuals, families, or communities. and The National Storm Shelter Association has a complete listing of all storm shelters available.

Make A Disaster Kit

When preparing for a tornado, or any natural disaster, you should have a disaster supply kit. Your kit should include the following items:

  • First aid kit and essential medications
  • Canned food and can opener
  • At least three gallons of water per person
  • Protective clothing, rainwear and bedding or sleeping bags
  • Battery-powered radio, flashlight and extra batteries
  • Special items for infants, elderly or disabled family members
  • Written instructions for how to turn off electricity, gas and water if authorities advise you to do so