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Tuning in for Tornadoes
Tornadoes are one of nature’s most violent storms and can cause death, injury, and destruction within seconds. Having advanced notice that a tornado is approaching your area can give you the critical time needed to move to a safe place for protection. Before severe weather strikes, pay attention to weather reports and be sure to sign up for text alerts
and download smart phone apps
that provide weather warnings.
While you may not always receive an official tornado alert in your area, there are warning signs that can indicate a tornado is near. Page four of the How to Prepare for a Tornado
guide from America’s PrepareAthon! highlights these signs, including:
· A change in the color of the sky;
· An approaching cloud of debris;
· A strange quiet occurring within or shortly after a thunderstorm; or
· A loud roar that sounds similar to a freight train.
If you experience these signs, take action immediately and go to the safest place for protection such as a FEMA safe room
or International Code Council 500 storm shelter
. If you do not have access to one of these structures, move to a small, interior, windowless room such as a closet or bathroom, on the lowest level of your building and cover your head and neck with your arms.
|To ensure that you’re able to act quickly and get the best available protection during a tornado, you need to plan ahead. Advanced planning and practicing specifically how and where you will take cover for protection may save your life.
Your primary goal is to go to the safest place for protection before the tornado approaches and take additional measures for personal cover. If a tornado warning is issued, immediately move to the best available protection.
Having advance notice that a tornado is approaching your area can give you the critical time needed to move to a place with better protection. The best protection in all tornadoes is to seek shelter in a structure built to FEMA safe room or International Code 500 storm shelter standards.
If you’re unable to get to a safe room during a tornado, move to an interior windowless room on the lowest level of a building, preferably the basement. Take personal cover under sturdy furniture such as a table. Cover your head and neck with your arms and place a blanket or coat over your body.
The America’s PrepareAthon! How to Prepare for a Tornado guide provides preparedness tips if you live, work, or travel through an area that is susceptible to tornadoes:
· Know how to stay informed, including monitoring weather reports provided by your local media;
· Consider buying a National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration Weather Radio All Hazards receiver, which receives broadcast alerts directly from the National Weather Service and offers warnings, watches, forecasts, and other hazard information 24 hours a day, 7 days a week;
· Download the FEMA mobile application for disaster resources, weather alerts, and safety tips;
· Know where you would go to have the best level of protection from a tornado for every place you spend a lot of time, such as home, work, school, or place of worship;
· Practice how you will communicate with your family members in case you're not together during a tornado; complete the Family Emergency Communication Plan;
· Store at least a 3-day supply of food, water, medications, and items you may need after the tornado passes; and
· Store the important documents on a USB flash drive or in a waterproof container that you will need to start your recovery.
Some locations don't provide protection from tornadoes, including: manufactured (mobile) homes/offices, the open space of open-plan buildings (e.g., malls, big retail stores, and gymnasiums), vehicles, and the outdoors. An alternative shelter should be identified prior to a tornado watch or warning.
You can find additional resources online, including a tornado checklist that provides guidance on what steps to take before and after a tornado.