Tornado Safety Tips
Living in Texas, it is important to know tornado safety tips. If you already have a plan in place, it is important to check your dilate kit, make any changes to your communications plan, & check your homeowners insurance policy and keep your information updated.
1. Create a Disaster Kit
- Keep at least 3 days worth of the following:
- Be sure to have enough bottled water on hand for each person and pet.
- Enough non-perishable food —and remember to include a can opener in your disaster kit.
- Pet food.
- Keep medication accessible.
- Fully stocked First Aid kit
- A flashlight or lantern and batteries.
- At least one change of clothes and shoes for each member of your family.
- Blankets, sleeping bags, and pillows.
- A few hundred dollars in cash.
- Printed, laminated copies of important documents and papers, such as insurance information.
- Cell phone chargers and power banks.
- A battery-powered emergency radio, TV, or similar device equipped to receive broadcasts from the National Weather Service.
These items should be pack in a water- and weather-proof container and store it in a safe, accessible location near or in your safe space.
2. Create a Communications Guide
Create a communications guide for your family members. Include contact information for any extended family who may live in the vicinity and be affected by a tornado. Include social media contacts in your guide. If services have been significantly disrupted, the best way to reach someone might be through their social accounts. Print and laminate copies of this guide for each member of your family. Having a pocket sized version that can be kept in your wallet or purse would be key.
3. Follow Evacuation Plans.
There are several apps you can add to your phone to get up to the minute weather updates. The American Red Cross tornado app, will alert you to changing weather conditions and provide you with fair warning to escape a dangerous location. Local weather stations also have apps that will keep you updated as well. If you believe that a tornado is headed your way, follow the tornado evacuation plans recommended for your location. Tornados can be unpridictable at times, so keep an eye on the sky and these bad weather indicators to know when to seek shelter:
- A particularly dark or greenish sky
- Big, low-lying, dark clouds
- Large hail
- Intense rain followed by an eerie calm
- A strong shift in wind direction or air temperature
- Debris moving through the air as if of its own accord
- The tornado roar—which usually sounds like a continuous rumble, a deep roar, or a nonstop whirring noise
4. Know What to do During a Tornado.
Sit down with your family and plan out where everyone should go for shelter. Basements, cellars, and tornado shelters are the safest places to shelter during a tornado. If you don’t have one of these in your home, go to an interior room on the lowest floor. Stay in the center of the room. Stay under something sturdy and take cover. If possible, seek shelter under a heavy table or workbench. Cover your body with a mattress, blanket, sleeping bag, or pillow. Protect your head with whatever you have available. Avoid windows, flat roofs, and external doors. These can fly off from the force of a tornado’s wind and injure anyone nearby.
It is also important to know what to do if your family happens to be in an automobile and needs to seek shelter. Abandon the automobile immediately!! Do not attempt to seek shelter beneath an overpass or bridge.
5. Know What to do After a Tornado
First, once the storm has fully passed and that there are no other tornadoes in your vicinity, check out your immediate surroundings. If anyone near you requires medical attention, seek emergency help as soon as possible. Major injuries should be treated by a medical professional—do not move the injured person on your own. Be sure to notify the injured person’s family and friends about their situation. You can provide first aid using the first aid kit for minor injuries, in your disaster kit.
Second, access any damage to your home and determine if you need to evacuate your home until a proper inspection can be made. Contact your insurance company to let them know of your damages and file a claim. It is good to have a clear understanding of your homeowners insurance policy ahead of time.
Regardless what happens, there are many organizations that can assist you in case of disaster. For example, the American Red Cross, the Salvation Army, and FEMA offer emergency and disaster assistance, including supplies, food, clothing, and even temporary lodging. It’s important to have a tornado safety plan, when you live in a tornado zone. Lastly, always be aware of the weather, seek shelter in case of a tornado, and know what steps to take during the post-tornado recovery period.
Texas Severe Storms Association
Check out our next BLOG POST Tuesday, March 21, 2023!