Tornado Season: Are You Prepared?

The spring and summer months bring the potential for tornadoes. If a tornado is coming, you have only a short amount of time to make decisions that affect the safety of you and your family. Advance planning and taking quick action are crucial to surviving these destructive storms.

Before a tornado hits:

  1. Conduct a tornado drill at least once each year. Designate an area in the home as a shelter and practice a family response to a tornado threat.
  2. Instruct family members on the difference between a “tornado watch” (when conditions increase the risk of tornadoes) and a “tornado warning” (when a tornado has actually been sighted).
  3. Keep disaster supplies on hand, (this applies to any severe weather situation).
    • Flashlight and extra batteries
    • Portable, battery-operated radio and extra batteries.
    • First aid kit and manual.
    • Blankets
    • Emergency water, food and a non-electric can opener
    • Essential medicines
    • Cash and credit cards
  4. Develop an emergency communication plan if family members are separated during a tornado.
  5. Ask an out-of-state relative or friend to serve as a contact person for family members during emergency situations. Provide this contact information to your family members.

During a tornado:

  1. Go to the lowest level of the building. If there is no basement, go to an inner room without windows.
  2. Stay away from windows.
  3. Go to the center of the room.
  4. Get under a piece of sturdy furniture or a table and hold on to it.
  5. Use your arms to protect your head and neck.
  6. Avoid places with wide-span roofs such as auditoriums, cafeterias, large hallways, or shopping malls.
  7. If in a mobile home, get out and find shelter elsewhere.

If you are outdoors during a tornado:

  1. Drivers should stop, exit their cars and seek shelter immediately.
  2. If 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.
  3. Protect your head and neck with your arms.

Consult the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) website ( for more information.

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