Knowing what to do in the event of a tornado can greatly impact if you will make it out of the event safely. While no one wants to live through a tornado, it is a reality that many people will experience at some point in their lives. For this reason, it is important to know what safety precautions to take ahead of time so in that moment you can react quickly.
Look and Listen
Being aware of what you can see and hear will definitely help you determine if a tornado is upon you. You should look for large hail, heavy rain, strong winds, intense lightening, a rotary motion at the base of a thunderstorm cloud or the loud roar like that you would associate with a train or even a plane.
Seek Safe Shelter
To give yourself the best chance of staying safe during a tornado you need to seek out a shelter that is as safe as possible. The best option is a basement. If you do not have access to a basement a ground floor room in the center of a home is the best option. You never want to choose a room on the top floor of a home because the winds associated with a tornado will often rip the roof of the building off and the wind speeds often increase the higher are you are off the ground.
Additionally, you should attempt to choose rooms on the north and east sides of the shelter if no interior rooms are available. You want to stay next to the innermost walls. Always avoid the walls on the south and west because tornadoes generally travel from the southwest to the northeast. A great option is also to choose small rooms or closets to seek shelter in. This is because the smaller a room is the less likely it is to collapse. You can always shelter in a bathtub if there is not a better option.
If there is an approaching tornado you do not have time to get anxious or scared. You need to stay calm and your first order of business should be to seek shelter. You will want to keep a portable tv or radio and flashlight in your shelter at all times. Additionally, you should wear shoes to protect your feet as there may be a lot of sharp or dangerous debris left by the storm. When the tornado is upon you, be sure to protect your head and your chest by crouching face to floor with your hands behind your head. Cover yourself, if at all possible, with blankets, coats or pillows. You should always avoid mobile homes and vehicles, instead you need to seek shelter in a more substantial structure, a ditch or even a culvert.
Create a Tornado Safety Kit
To be ready for a tornado at any time you should be sure that you always have a prepared tornado safety it. Your kit should include a first aide kit, battery powered radio, flashlight and extra batteries for both. Canned and non-perishable foods and a hand operated can opener. Bottled water, candles and matches and shoes and gloves should also be placed in your tornado kit. Cash and credit cards should also be taken with you and you should have written instructions as to how you can turn off your home utilities, should you need to. Having most of these items together at all times will ensure that you are as prepared as possible if and when you encounter a tornado.