Most areas of the United States are susceptible to tornadoes, and with the recent
weather patterns we have had anything is possible. Tornadoes typically occur during the spring and
summer months (Who knows what that means anymore?) and more than 1,000 tornadoes are reported
in the United States each year resulting in serious property damage, injuries and deaths.
A tornado is defined as a violently rotating column of air that extends from a
thunderstorm to the ground. The larger and more violent tornadoes can result in serious destruction
and, at times, winds can reach speeds of 250 mph or more. Tornadoes typically develop quickly –
sometimes with little or no warning. In most cases, damage from a direct tornado hit cannot be avoided,
but there are steps that can be taken to lessen the damage and protect yourself and family.
Preparation before a tornado:
• Develop a written pre-emergency plan.
• Conduct routine tornado drills
• Know the area in which you live, work or go to school, and keep a highway map nearby to follow the
storm movement from weather bulletins.
• It is recommended to keep a battery operated radio available in case of loss of power
• During tornado season, it is recommended that you stay tuned to a radio or television to keep
informed of any potential tornado activity in the area.
• Minimize yard storage and, if needed, make sure it is secured to the ground items may become
airborne and cause additional damage.
As soon as a tornado has been reported and it is obvious that danger is on its way, move
to a pre-designated location to sit out the tornado. The best place is generally an underground shelter
or basement. If there is no underground shelter available move to an interior room, bathroom or
hallway on the lowest floor and hide under a sturdy piece of furniture or equipment. Squat down as low
as possible cover your heads with your hands to provide protection from possible flying or falling debris,
and make every effort to stay away from windows.
If you are in a vehicle, you should immediately seek shelter in a sturdy building nearby.
If you must stay in your car, ensure your seat belt is on, put your head down below the windows, and
cover your head with your hands and a blanket if possible. You can also chose to get noticeably lower
than the level of the roadway, exit your car and lie in that area, covering your head with your hands.
Your choice should be driven by your specific circumstances.
Mobile home owners should abandon their home immediately, even if the home has
been tied down. Typically, mobile homes do not offer much –if any –protection from tornadoes.
A tornado can be a life changing event. Do not wait until a tornado is occurring to come
up with a plan. Think about discussing your own homes tornado emergency plan this weekend, It may
make all the difference in an emergency situation.