It can be a frightening experience when a tornado strikes your local area. Even those who have grown up living through these storms can be shocked by the amount of destruction that tornados can cause in such a short amount of time. One of the biggest problems with tornados is that they can strike anywhere at any time and they usually happen quickly before people are able to reach safety. No matter how you look at it, tornados still cause an untold amount of destruction in both property and human lives every year.
Naturally, the best way to survive a tornado is to prepare beforehand and know what to do when one occurs. Before a tornado actually forms, it is important to have an emergency plan in place. Then, on days when the weather is threatening, pay close attention to watches and warnings on the radio, television, or your smartphone. When a tornado watch has been issued, this means tornados are likely to occur. On the other hand, if a tornado warning has been broadcasted, that means one has been sighted and you need to seek shelter immediately.
Discuss with your family beforehand what to do in the event of a tornado warning and designate part of the house as your tornado shelter. The best place is usually a basement or storm shelter built specifically for that purpose. It is important to stay away from windows, doors, and walls. Try to find a heavy table or stairway to get under. If these aren’t available in your residence, find a windowless, interior room like a closet or bathroom. In a pinch, get into a bathtub and cover yourself with a mattress or couch cushion. Flying debris causes most of the fatalities from tornados, and a little protection from it is better than none at all.
Mobile homes are especially dangerous during tornadoes because they can be blown over by their strong winds. Find another place to go such as a community tornado shelter or a friend or family member’s house. If you are away from your home and a tornado is spotted, many of the same principles apply. Get away from windows and glass doorways, move into the lowest, innermost location in the building, and avoid the elevators. Find anything that can protect you from debris.
If you are outdoors or in a vehicle, these are deadliest places to be during a tornado. It is critical to not try and outrun a tornado on foot or in your car. Try to get to the nearest shelter or sturdy building. If you are caught in your vehicle, try as much as possible to leave your seat belt on while crouching down beneath the windows. Protect your head with your hands or whatever you have available. If you are caught outdoors, lie flat in a ditch or crouch beside a sturdy structure and shield your head.
Know what to do when a tornado strikes beforehand. Have a disaster plan in place for your family and loved ones. Don’t forget to have an emergency 72-hour kit on hand to help you survive until normal activities resume.
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