It’s disturbing and frighteningly surreal when you look up in the sky and see that ominous tornado cloud. Time is of essence. What do you do to protect yourself?
The first thing you should do when you start seeing potential tornado clouds moving into your area is to tune in immediately to your local television or radio station to look for updated weather reports. If it’s mentioned your area is under a tornado watch, it means conditions in your area are ripe for the development of a tornado, but none have been spotted in your area yet. If they use the term tornado warning, this means an actual tornado has been sighted and you need to seek shelter immediately.
Where should you seek shelter? If you’re at home, the best place to do is to isolate you, your family, and pets in a room with no windows. You should choose a room on the ground floor in the interior of your home. A bathroom or closet is a good choice, particularly if you have a room that’s been fortified by steel or concrete to offer extra protection.Once inside the room, look for something heavy you put over yourself to protect yourself against falling debri. Crawling under a workbench or other anchored table will work. In a pinch, you can place a large metal trash can over yourself or get under a heavy mattress.
What if you’re out on the road traveling in your car as a tornado approaches? If possible, try to drive out of the path of the impending tornado. This is controversial as some people believe it’s too difficult to out drive the tornado and it’s best to seek shelter immediately.If this isn’t possible, leave your car and head for a heavy, well built building. You should never stay in your car since cars can be easily tossed around by the powerful wind. If no shelter or building is available as a tornado approaches, lie flat on the ground in as low a spot as possible. If you can crawl into a ditch, this can offer some protection. Never stand under a bridge as the bridge may be destroyed by the tornado or can even collapse.
The best course of action for tornado safety is to have a plan in place before you spot the tornado cloud. You should have a designated room in your house assigned to be the tornado shelter because of it’s sturdy construction. Preferably it should be reinforced with steel or concrete. Set up a disaster supply and first aid kit within easy reach in the designated room. Conduct regular tornado emergency drills with your family so everyone is well versed in how to handle this emergency. Being prepared will greatly increase your chance for survival. Be sure to also have a plan for your pets as they can easily become disoriented and lost in the chaos. Preparedness and preparation are your two best safeguards against tornado related injury
Now when you see those tornado clouds approaching, you’ll know exactly what you need to do to protect you and your family!