Tornado Safety Preparation
Get a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) weather radio. While the local media (radio or television) are a great source of relaying National Weather Service (NWS) tornado watches and warnings, they are only useful if you happen to have them turned on. The NOAA weather radio is on standby all the time, and will sound an alarm the moment a tornado watch or warning has been issued. If you are expecting severe weather, turn up the volume so you can clearly hear the alert (especially important if you are a sound sleeper).
Have a Plan
If a tornado warning is issued, or you spot a tornado heading for you, what will you do – if you are at home, at work, in your vehicle. Spend a moment to think about it and review it each spring. During imminent danger is not the time to have to think up a plan.
If your home does not have a safe place that can be used as a tornado shelter (as is the case with mobile homes), find out where in your neighborhood is recommended as a tornado shelter. Most properly managed mobile home parks should have a severe weather plan in place, and such a plan is useful for any neighborhood or subdivision. At work, ask your employer for a copy of their severe weather safety plan. They should have a location where employees can seek shelter in the event of a tornado or other severe weather.
Put Together a Tornado / Severe Weather Kit
At the least, the kit should include:
- a battery powered radio (preferably with weather channels)
- a flashlight in working order (do not store with batteries installed) – there are battery-less flashlights now available
- immediate first aid needs (bandages, antibiotic wipes, tweezers, etc.)
- food and bottle of water
- emergency blanket (foil lined to retain warmth)
- large marking pen or bottle of spray paint (to write your address on the driveway, remains of structures for rescue personnel)
- copies of any critical medical records
- whistle (to help rescuers locate you)
Place your tornado kit inside the place you have designated as your tornado shelter. If you own a home with a concrete foundation, a water/fireproof safe bolted to the house foundation for storage of any irreplaceable documents can be a good choice. These documents should be in the safe at all times. Do not wait until a tornado warning is issued before trying to put things in the safe.
Practice a tornado drill at least once per year for your family, school, or workplace. Ensure everyone knows what to do without having to think about it.