Problem: Tornadoes are
predicted or present in area of the home.
Background: Tornadoes are formed by severe
thunderstorms, most often in spring and summer. They are
nature’s most violent and erratic storms. A tornado can
travel for miles along the ground, lift, and suddenly
change directions and strike again. Basic safety rules
1) keep alert and watch for changing weather conditions
2) take shelter immediately when you hear a tornado
warning or see a funnel cloud
3) know where shelter is before you need it.
Learn your community’s warning signals. A tornado watch is
announced when weather conditions are favorable for the
formation of tornadoes. A tornado warning is announced
when a funnel cloud is sighted or indicated by radar.
What to do: There is little you can do to protect
your home or workplace from the strength of tornado winds.
But you can increase your chances of survival by knowing
which locations may be safer than others. In conventional
homes, a basic rule is to avoid standing or sitting near
windows; an exploding window can injure or kill. Don’t
take time to open windows—just get to shelter immediately.
The safest place in the home is the interior part of the
basement, preferably under something sturdy like a table.
Stay out from under heavy objects like pianos or
refrigerators located on the floor above. If you have no
basement, or can’t get there, go to an inside room with no
windows—like a closet, hallway, or bathroom—on the lowest
floor of the home. For added protection, sit under
something that is strong, like a workbench or heavy table.
If possible, cover your body with a blanket or sleeping
bag, and protect your head with anything available, even
Do not stay in a mobile home during a tornado. Even homes
with a secure tie-down system can’t with stand the force
of tornado winds. Plan ahead and make arrangements to stay
with someone who has a basement if a tornado watch is
issued. If a tornado warning is given, leave a mobile home
and seek shelter nearby. If you are in a car, do not try
to outrun a tornado; vehicles are easily tossed by the
winds. If you see a tornado, stop and get out. Seek
shelter away from the car in a nearby ditch or ravine; do
not go into a grove of trees or crawl under your vehicle.
Lie flat and put your arms over your head.
Special advice: Long-span buildings are especially
dangerous since the entire roof structure is usually
supported only by the outside walls. If you are caught in
an open building like a shopping mall, civic center,
indoor pool, theater or gymnasium during a tornado, go
into the restroom if possible. In larger buildings,
restrooms are usually made of concrete blocks. If there is
no time to go anywhere, try to stand up against something
that will support or deflect falling debris. In schools,
hospitals, nursing homes and office buildings, move to the
innermost portions on the lowest possible floor. Avoid
windows and glass doorways and don’t use elevators; the
power may go off and you could be trapped. Remember to
protect your head.
Helpful hint: Keep
your family together and wait for help to arrive. After a
tornado, don’t go into damaged buildings; they may
collapse completely. If your home appears undamaged,
carefully check for gas leaks (by smelling for gas like
odors) or other utility line breaks. If the lights are
out, use a flashlight only; do not use a match, lighter or
any open flame. Also see (Home
Has Been Flooded) and (Home