Storms and other harsh weather conditions can be quite dangerous. Depending on their location, tornados can be a serious threat. In today’s post, we’ll explore a few basic tornado safety tips to help keep families safe.
Tornados don’t always follow a season. In fact, they often arrive suddenly, at any time of the year. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
(NOAA), there were 1,174 tornadoes in the United States between January 1 and November 25, 2021.
Tornado Safety Begins with Proper Planning
As always, when we talk about storm safety
, the first step is always preparation. Knowing how to deal with a potential danger is critical for staying out of harm’s way. Put simply, if a family is trying to research tornado safety as an actual twister is bearing down, it may already be too late. You must instead be prepared with the proper knowledge ahead of time.
To make matters worse, a tornado may not offer any warning. These twisters can strike suddenly, and often without warning. A tornado features a spinning funnel-shaped cloud, dark skies and an extremely loud roar of wind. To learn more about how to identify tornados, visit the official CDC page on the topic
Setting up a safety plan is something that every family should do to prepare for emergencies. Before preparing the house, car or pool area… start with planning an evacuation route. If the worst happens, and the family needs to abandon their home, it is far better to know where everyone is going.
Best Practices During a Tornado
Unfortunately, there are limits to preparation. A tornado is a unique type of dangerous weather condition that requires some specific safety precautions. The first, and most important, precaution is to stay indoors, if possible. This includes staying off the roads. If you do not have to drive during a tornado, you should avoid doing so.
No matter if you are on foot or in a vehicle, don’t count on outrunning a tornado. These storms are much faster and more deadly than many of us realize. It is not worth the risk. High winds, flying debris and falling heavy objects are serious dangers. Instead, the best option is to hunker down. The sturdy walls of a solid building are the best security from the elements. Additionally, try to find a basement if possible. The lowest part of the building is usually the safest spot.
Pick a safe location, sign up for local government emergency text alerts and go over the steps as a family. In hectic situations, people can become separated. Just to be safe, both parents and children should practice running this evacuation route during calm weather.
Above all, don’t simply assume that you’ll be able to find a hotel in troubled times. When disaster strikes, hotels are often quickly filled. To avoid this, keep an eye on weather reports and book your room in advance. Of course, if you have family or friends outside of the affected area, plan with them as well. In a pinch, FEMA offers a helpful app to find a nearby shelter
. When it comes to tornado safety, this app can be a life saver. Be sure to save it to your phone in advance, just in case it is needed.
As we said earlier, tornados can occur without warning. While a person shouldn’t plan to be in a car, it is very possible to find yourself trapped in a vehicle. In the event that you end up in this situation, and absolutely cannot find shelter, there is hope.
For tornado safety, try to either hunker down in your vehicle or find an outdoor area as low to the ground as possible. A ravine or ditch can be useful. While on the ground, cover your head and neck. Avoid hiding under bridges and highway overpasses. These can collapse or leave you exposed.
For further storm safety reading, take a look at the American Red Cross’s Safety Checklist