Tornado Threatens Home

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 include:

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 your hands.
   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 Suffers Earthquake)




The Home Repair Guide

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