Staying Safe in a Tornado

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Staying Safe in a Tornado

Two simple words can put Texans on edge: severe weather.

Severe thunderstorms and tornadoes can cause death and destruction for those who aren't ready.

“The tornado season is upon us and we want to make sure that the residents of Athens and the  surrounding area are fully prepared if a tornado were to hit,” said Fire Marshal Lance West.

 Although the most violent tornadoes can level and blow away almost any house and those within it, extremely violent EF5 tornadoes are rare. Most tornadoes are much weaker. You can survive a tornado if you follow safety precautions. Here are three important tips from the CDC to help keep you and your family safe.

 No. 1 - Be prepared.

The best way to stay safe during a tornado is to be prepared with the following items:

  • Fresh batteries and a battery-operated TV, radio, or internet-enabled device to listen to the latest emergency weather information.
  • A tornado emergency plan including access to a safe shelter for yourself, your family, people with special needs, and your pets.
  • An emergency kit (including water, non-perishable food, and medication).
  • A list of important information, including telephone numbers.

 Be sure your children know what a tornado is, what tornado watches and warnings are, what county or parish they live in (warnings are typically issued by county or parish), and what makes a location a safe shelter, whether at home or at school.

No. 2 -- Stay aware of weather conditions.

To protect yourself and your family from harm during a tornado, pay close attention to changing weather conditions in your area. If you know thunderstorms are expected, stay tuned to local radio and TV stations or an NOAA weather radio for further weather information. Some tornadoes strike rapidly without time for a tornado warning. The following weather signs may mean that a tornado is approaching:

  • A dark or green-colored sky.
  • A large, dark, low-lying cloud.
  • Large hail.
  • A loud roar that sounds like a freight train.

If you notice any of these conditions, take cover immediately, and keep tuned to local radio and TV stations or to a NOAA weather radio or check the internet.

No. 3 - Know where to shelter.

Falling and flying debris causes most deaths and injuries during a tornado. Although there is no completely safe place during a tornado, some locations are much safer than others.

  • Go to the basement or an inside room without windows on the lowest floor (bathroom, closet, center hallway).
  • If possible, avoid sheltering in a room with windows.
  • For added protection get under something sturdy (a heavy table or workbench). Cover your body with a blanket, sleeping bag or mattress. Protect your head with anything available.
  • Do not stay in a mobile home.

If you are outside or in a mobile home, find a nearby building preferably with a basement. If you are in a car, do not try to outrun a tornado but instead find the nearest sturdy building.

No one can know a tornado’s strength before it touches down, so keep up with local weather information, especially when thunderstorms are forecast. Following these tips will give you the best chance for staying safe in a tornado.

Information provided by the CDC, for more details:

https://www.cdc.gov/nceh/features/tornadosafety/index.html