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 Before / During / After

Know the warning signs!

Stay informed about a developing storm by listening to NOAA Weather Radio, a commercial radio station, or television for the latest Tornado WATCHES and WARNINGS.

Remember, Tornadoes occasionally develop when a severe thunderstorm watch or warning is in effect. Stay alert to signs of an approaching tornado and seek shelter if threatening conditions exist.  Do no take chances with tornadoes. Provide a safe place for you and your family should a tornado happen!

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Before a tornado strikes...

bulletConduct tornado drills each tornado season.  If you do not have a storm shelter, designate an area in your home as the official tornado shelter.  This area should be located in the lowest, strongest, most interior room of the house. Practice having your family go there as if a tornado warning had been issued in your area.
bulletMake sure family members know the difference between a "tornado watch" and a "tornado warning." A watch means that conditions are favorable for tornadic development. A tornado warning is issued when it is believed that a tornado has been sighted or has formed and is on the ground.  These observations are made by official storm spotters or by examining RADAR images. Tornado warnings are usually issued by county or by town.



Maintain basic tornado safety supplies:

bulletFlashlight with extra batteries
bulletA portable, battery-operated radio and extra batteries
bulletFirst aid kit with manual
bulletEmergency food (cans and waterproof containers) & water
bulletNon-electric can opener and utensils
bulletEssential medicines (especially prescription types)
bulletSome cash and credit cards
bulletCellular phone/pager
bulletSturdy shoes/sneakers/clothes


bulletDevelop an emergency communication plan.

In the event that family members are separated from one another during a tornado, have a plan in place for getting back together or a system for relaying messages back and forth to another (i.e.: cellular phone, beepers, etc.) Ask an out-of-state relative or friend to serve as the "family contact." After a disaster, it's often easier to call long distance. Make sure everyone in the family knows the name, address, and phone number of the contact person.

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When a tornado warning is issued (or when a tornado strikes)...

Stay calm.

If at home:

bullet Go at once to your Tornado Safe Room™, the best above ground protection available.
bullet If you do not have a Tornado Safe Room™ yet, go to an inner hallway or a smaller inner room without windows, such as a bathroom or closet.
bulletGet away from the windows.
bulletGo to the center of the room. Stay away from corners because they tend to attract debris.
bulletGet under a piece of sturdy furniture such as a workbench or heavy table or desk and hold on to it.
bulletUse arms to protect head and neck.
bulletIf in a mobile home, get out and find shelter elsewhere.


If at work or school:

bulletGo to the basement or to an inside hallway at the lowest level.
bulletAvoid places with wide-span roofs such as auditoriums, cafeterias, large hallways, or shopping malls.
bulletGet under a piece of sturdy furniture such as a workbench or heavy table or desk and hold on to it.
bulletUse arms to protect head and neck.



If outdoors:

bulletIf possible, get inside a building.
bulletIf shelter is not available or there is no time to get indoors, lie in a ditch or low-lying area or crouch near a strong building. Be aware of the potential for flooding.
bulletUse arms to protect head and neck.



If in a car:

bulletNever try to outdrive a tornado in a car or truck. Tornadoes can change direction quickly and can lift up a car or truck and toss it through the air.
bulletGet out of the car immediately and take shelter in a nearby building.
bulletIf there is no time to get indoors, get out of the car and lie in a ditch or low-lying area away from the vehicle. Be aware of the potential for flooding.

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After a tornado strikes...


bulletHelp injured or trapped people; give first aid where appropriate; don't try to move the seriously injured unless they are in immediate danger of further injury. Call for help.
bulletTurn on radio or television to get the latest emergency information.
bulletStay out of damaged buildings. Return home only when authorities say it is safe.
bulletUse the telephone only for emergency calls.
bulletClean up spilled medicines, bleaches, or gasoline or other flammable liquids immediately.
bulletLeave the buildings if you smell gas or chemical fumes. If there is a gas leak, notify the proper authorities immediately. Do not use telephones in an area where you suspect a gas leak; the electrical current in a telephone may cause a spark and may ignite flammable gas.
bulletTake pictures of the damage--both to the house and its contents--for insurance purposes.

The best way to prepare for tornadoes is to always keep aware of the weather forecast/conditions. Throughout severe weather season, always have a general idea of what the weather will be; use internet weather services such as weatherOnline!, newspapers, and radio/TV stations to keep abreast of developing severe weather. When severe weather is about to strike, don't rely on the internet for information; storm damage or internet lag may limit or hamper information that is more accessible or readily available through broadcast media such as NOAA weather radio, or other commercial radio and television stations.

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Will you be ready the next time a Tornado strikes your area?

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2012- Storm Shelters of America, Inc. 05/09/10