How To Prepare For A Tornado
A tornado is a violent cone shaped rotation of a column
of air extending from an overhead thunderstorm to the
ground. Tornados speeds range from 100 mph to 250 mph.
Tornados can cause a pathway of damage of up to 1 mile wide
to over 50 miles long, but most range 250 feet wide and a
few miles long before they dissapate. Tornados are also
known as twisters and cyclones. On average, 800 tornadoes
are reported in the US, resulting in 80 deaths and over
Knowing how to prepare for a tornado
and taking all the right precautions to protect yourself and you
loved ones can
give you peace of mind. You should plan and make preparations
well in advance of the tornado.
- Being struck by flying debris.
- High winds.
- Broken gas and water pipes (fire or flood hazards).
- Sharp, dangerous, contaminated or poisonous debris.
- Potential collapse of weakened structures.
Equipment & Supplies You Need
Buy these items well before the tornado arrives.
- Emergency power generator (Emergency
- Survival kit/ bug out bags (Executive 72-hour Kit with Solar Upgrade)
- Food (MRE's)
- Water (Water Filters, Purifiers and Storage)
- Emergency lights (Emergency Lighting)
- Emergency radio (Emergency Radios)
- Two large coolers: One for drinks & one for food
- Uninterruptible power supply (UPS) for your
Make, stock up or verify the fully stocked status of each of your
- Car back pack, car first aid kit (first
), auto tool kit (tool
- Emergency evacuation backpack
- Food emergency kit
- Dog/pet emergency kit
- Tornado emergency Kit - (72-hour Survival Kits) Make sure your
tornado kit includes:
Flashlights & extra bulbs, Battery-operated radio, Battery-operated
lanterns, Batteries (in different sizes!), Matches, First aid kit, Duct
tape, Rain gear,
Clock (wind-up or battery-powered), Plastic garbage bags, Fire
extinguisher, Scissors, Can Opener, Clean clothes, Extra blankets, Heavy
Make a tornado plan. Know when and what you are going
to do in advance of an oncoming tornado.
Make a family communications
Have a home inspection performed on
you house to identify weakness and deficiencies in your
Investigate whether to strengthen windows and
Find out how to keep food safe during and after and
Make sure each member of your family knows what to do no
matter where they are when an tornado occurs.
Establish a meeting place where you can all reunite
Transportation may be disrupted after an
emergency supplies (food, liquids, comfortable shoes) at
work, in your car and at home.
Make sure all family members know where your gas,
electric and water main shutoff valves are and how to turn
Identify your closest fire and police stations and
emergency medical facility.
Coordinate your emergency tornado plans with your
TAKE Red Cross First Aid and CPR Training Course.
Prepare Your House & Yard
- Install straps or additional clips to securely fasten your roof to
the frame structure. This will reduce roof damage.
- Inspect your roof for integrity and loose shingles. Repair as
- Trim surrounding trees and shrubs so they
are less susceptible to damage to the wind.
- Clear the yard, patio and screened enclosure of all unsecured items
including outdoor furniture,
decorations, garbage cans and anything else that is not tied down. Items
that cannot be removed must be appropriately secured down.
- Install an emergency power generator. Test it to make sure it works.
Get plenty of fuel.
- Build a safe room in your house and stock it with basic supplies.
- Have basic repair and clean up materials handy (plastic sheeting,
nails, duct tape, hammer, shovel, chainsaw, etc.).
Prepare Your Car
- Perform maintenance on your car to make sure it's
"ready to go" in case you have to evacuate. Check tire
pressure, oil level, radiator level, washer level.
Verify car running condition.
- Fill your tank up with gas.
- Get spare gas cans and fill them up in case of gas
shortage after the tornado.
- Park your car in the garage, sheltered location or
the most protected and highest elevated ground possible.
- Secure all of your cars important paperwork to
- Verify car contents. Fully equip your car. See
What Should I Keep In My Car?
- Make sure your car insurance is up to date and in
Verify important documents and place in a portable and waterproof
container. As backup, scan and save your documents on a flash drive, website
other secure storage system and store in a safe location. Update or take new pictures of yard, house, house contents and car
contents and backup computer files. Email important documents to self or a friend.
- Photo copies of prescriptions
- Emergency preparedness manual
- Photo identification
- Proof of occupancy of residence (utility bills)
- Medical history or information
- Waterproof container for document storage
- Back-up disks of your home computer files
- Camera & film & spare batteries for camera
- Insurance, medical records, bank account numbers, Social Security card,
copy of will, family records
- Important telephone numbers and contact information
- Inventory, pictures and receipts of valuable household goods
Before The Tornado
- Double check your emergency kits and supplies (food, water, flashlights, weather
radio, batteries, etc.)
- Monitor emergency broadcasts and be ready to evacuate.
- Extra supply of medicines for each family member
- Look for approaching storms. Tornado danger signs
include a dark, greenish
sky, large hail, a large, dark, low-lying cloud (particularly if rotating),
loud roar, like a freight train.
- If you see any of these danger signs take shelter immediately.
During The Tornado
- Stay indoors at all times during the tornado.
- Stay away from windows and glass doors.
- Close all interior doors.
- Keep curtains and blinds closed.
- Take refuge in a small interior room, closet or hallway on the
- Avoid elevators.
- Watch TV or listen to the radio for tornado updates.
- Turn off propane tanks
- When the wind picks up and things get scary, go to your safe room,
lie on the floor under a table or another sturdy object.
- If you are in building:
-Go to a safe area such as safe room, basement, storm cellar.
-Go to or the lowest building level.
-Go to the center most room of the building
-Stay away from windows, doors, and outside walls.
-Hide under a stRong table.
-Cover your head and neck with your arms.
-Do not open windows.
- If you are in a car, trailer or mobile home get out immediately and
- If you are outside and no shelter is available:
-Lie down as flast a possible to reduce wind resistance and cover your
head with your hands.
-Don't try to outrun a tornado in congested areas.
After The Tornado
Continue listening for the
Stay off the streets. If you
must go out watch dangers including fallen objects,
downed electrical wires and wild animals.
Drive only if necessary and
avoid flooded roads and washed out bridges.
Walk carefully around the
outside your home and inspect for damage. Take pictures
of damage, both of the building and its contents, for
Watch your pets closely and keep
them under your direct control.
Watch out for wild animals,
especially poisonous snakes. Use a stick to poke through
Avoid drinking tap water or
preparing food with it until you are sure itâ€™s not
Wear protective clothing and be
cautious when cleaning up.