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Here are some basic safety tips when dealing with the threat of a tornado. Of course, some of them seem obvious, but it doesn’t hurt to be reminded of tips and procedures, and it is a good idea for children to be taught about what to do in such a situation, especially in the spring when the air is ripe for dangerous weather.

  • If at all possible, you should have a weather radio. They cost somewhere around $20 to $25. That’s your first line of defense.
  • One thing a lot of people don’t have and should have is a disaster kit, which has supplies that last up to three days. And you should always have a three-day supply of water.
  • Know the difference between a tornado watch and warning. A watch means conditions are right for a possible tornado. A warning means a tornado has been spotted and you should take cover immediately.
  • Have a family response plan. If a tornado is spotted, everyone in the home should know where to assemble. If you have a basement, you should go there. If not, then it is advised to go to an interior room on the lowest level with no windows, preferably a bathroom or a closet.
  • Stay away from corners in a room because they attract debris.
  • If you are in a room, get under a sturdy piece of furniture and use your arms to protect your head and neck.
  • Keep windows shut. Opening them will only allow debris to enter more easily the structure. Pressure will not cause the house to explode.
  • If you are in a mobile home, get out and find shelter elsewhere. Many deaths and injuries occur to mobile home residents, since the homes are so light and can be tossed by strong winds.
  • If you are outdoors and there is no time to get inside, lie in a ditch or low-lying area. Also be aware of the potential for flooding.
  • If you are in a car, do not try to out drive a tornado in a car or a truck. Tornadoes can change directions quickly and can lift up a car or truck and toss it through the air like a toy. If possible, get out of the car immediately and take shelter in a nearby building. If there is no time to get indoors, get out of the car and lie in a ditch or low lying area away from the vehicle. Cover head and neck with arms. Don’t seek shelter under an overpass. Debris is often channeled there.
  • If at work or school: Go to a basement or inside hallway on the lowest level away from windows. Avoid places with wide-span roofs such as auditoriums, cafeterias or shopping malls. Check with your work and your children’s schools and day care centers to learn about their tornado emergency plans.

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