With a number of areas across the country being plagued by tornadoes recently, there has been a renewed interest in tornado preparedness tips. Here are some things you can do to increase your odds of surviving one of these storms.
Plan A Tornado Escape Route
Tornadoes tend to strike without warning, which is why you should have a plan of action far in advance. Think of areas you visit often, and then try to determine how you would react if a tornado were to happen while you were there. Knowing where you would go and what you would do can ensure your safety and help you avoid a panic situation.
The ideal place to go would be a specially designed tornado shelter. If one isn’t available, head to the basement or lowest point of a building. Get underneath a table or other heavy piece of furniture in order to protect yourself from falling debris. You can also place mattresses or cushions around you to soften the blow of falling objects as well.
Seeking A Tornado Shelter While Driving
Tornadoes can be especially dangerous if you are in a vehicle when they strike, because they can easily pick up a car and carry it for several miles. As such, you should seek shelter immediately whenever there is a tornado warning. Should you find yourself on the road, exit your vehicle and get into a low-lying ditch or underneath a bridge if possible. Avoid ditches directly underneath power lines. Do not attempt to outrun a tornado, as funnel clouds can move quickly, and may even change direction without warning.
After a Tornado Happens
You should make absolutely certain that a tornado has passed before exiting your shelter. When leaving, observe the area carefully for signs of falling debris, downed power lines or puddles of water containing wires. Use a flashlight to help you see, since tornadoes can sometimes cause fuel tank or natural gas line leaks.
Check those around you to see if there are any injuries. Render aid only if you can do so without being physically harmed yourself. Notify emergency personnel if extensive medical treatment is required. Contact utility companies to let them know about any downed power lines or outages you encounter.
Advance Tornado Preparedness
Your preparedness plans should include a stockpile of supplies that would help you survive without electricity and water for three to five days after the storm. Some things you should keep on hand include:
- Battery powered radios and flashlights, with spare batteries
- Non-perishable food
- Hand-operated can opener
- Plastic utensils, paper plates and Styrofoam cups
- Pet food
- Heat source such as a wood-burning stove or kerosene heaters
- Fully-charged cell phone and car charger
- Diapers and formula
Tornadoes can be among some of the most devastating natural disasters known to man. Planning ahead of time how you will survive one can make the difference between whether or not you actually do.
Start now to make sure you are staying prepared.