Preparing for a Tornado
- Know your area’s tornado risk. In the U.S., the Midwest and the Southeast have a greater risk for tornadoes.
- Know the signs of a tornado, including a rotating, funnel-shaped cloud, an approaching cloud of debris, or a loud roar like a freight train.
- Sign up for your community’s warning system. The Emergency Alert System (EAS) and NOAA Weather Radio also provide emergency alerts. If your community has sirens, then become familiar with the warning tone.
- Pay attention to weather reports. Meteorologists can predict when conditions might be right for a tornado.
- Identify and practice going to a safe shelter such as a safe room built using FEMA criteria or a storm shelter built to ICC 500 standards. The next best protection is a small, interior, windowless room on the lowest level of a sturdy building.
- Consider Overlapping Hazards such as Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).Review the CDC's guidelines for going to a public disaster shelter during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Plan for your pet. They are an important member of your family, so they need to be included in your family’s emergency plan.
- Prepare for long-term stay at home or sheltering in place by gathering emergency supplies, cleaning supplies, non-perishable foods, water, medical supplies and medication.
Staying Safe During a Tornado
- Immediately go to a safe location that you have identified.
- Listen to EAS, NOAA Weather Radio, or local alerting systems for current emergency information and instructions.
- Protect yourself by covering your head or neck with your arms and putting materials such as furniture and blankets around or on top of you.
- Do not try to outrun a tornado in a vehicle if you are in a car. If you are in a car or outdoors and cannot get to a building, cover your head and neck with your arms and cover your body with a coat or blanket, if possible.
Staying Safe After a Tornado
- Keep listening to EAS, NOAA Weather Radio, and local authorities for updated information.
- Stay clear of fallen power lines or broken utility lines.
- Save your phone calls for emergencies and use text messaging or social media to communicate with family and friends.
- Contact your healthcare provider if you are sick and need medical attention. Wait for further care instructions and continue to shelter in place.
- Wear appropriate gear during clean-up such as thick-soled shoes, long pants, and work gloves, use appropriate face coverings or masks if cleaning mold or other debris.
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