Tornado Safety

Huge, EF5 tornadoes can level homes to the slab, even interior rooms. These large tornadoes are quite rare, however. The majority of tornadoes are smaller, EF1 or EF2 tornadoes, which still cause damage, but are much more survivable, especially if you have a plan.

Once you see a tornado approaching, it's too late to formulate a family plan. Have a tornado plan in place, before you experience severe weather. Based on your type of home, know where you can shelter, quickly.

You should practice with your family, at least every six months, to ensure everyone knows what to do and where to go, in the event of a tornado. Your plan should include a pre-determined place for your family to meet, after a disaster and what to do, in the event someone is injured. Teach children to contact 911 for help, in the event you are incapacitated or they are lost. Don't forget to have them memorize their address, so rescue workers can find them. 

Your shelter site should be an interior room, with no windows. A pantry, closet or bathroom is ideal. If you have an interior bathroom, climb in the tub and cover yourself with your protective materials. Keep your phone with you and ensure it is always charged. If you are pinned, you might be able to use your phone to contact 911. You should store protective coverings in or near to your shelter site, as flying debris will be the greatest danger. You will need dedicated, quick access to these materials and they can include mattresses, sleeping bags, thick blankets, etc. 

Do not attempt to shelter in your car. Vehicles will be picked up and thrown easily, by a tornado. If you do see a tornado, drive at 90 degree angles to its path. Remember, tornadoes can travel as fast as you can drive; don't try to outrun them in a straight line. 

Mobile homes are especially at risk. If a tornado is on a path with your mobile home, it may be better to leave and get into a ditch. Mobile homes do not fare well, even against small tornadoes.

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