Wondering how to prepare for a tornado? As with most disasters, being tornado ready means planning. The time to prepare for a tornado is now. Read on for some tips on how you should prepare for a tornado, so if danger strikes, you’ll be ready.
1. Know your risks to prepare for a tornado
A tornado can strike anytime and anywhere. So, the first step to prepare for a tornado is to know your risk. Tornadoes unleash winds over 200 miles per hour. They can destroy homes, buildings, and vehicles. They can also send deadly debris flying. A tornado is shaped like a funnel and extends down to the earth from thunderstorm clouds. They are made up of rotating columns of air. Tornadoes are dangerous and deadly, so you must know how to prepare for a tornado.
2. Prepare for a tornado by planning ahead
A large part of how to prepare for a tornado has to do with planning. Preparing well in advance to an emergency is the best way to make sure you are safe and sound. Create an emergency plan and practice it often with your family. Use these tips to prepare for a tornado ahead of time, so when an emergency strikes, you will be ready.
- Create an emergency plan and practice if often with the entire family. Discuss where and how you will seek shelter during an emergency.
- Make sure everyone in your home knows where to locate first aid kits and fire extinguishers
- Build an emergency kit as you prepare for a tornado. We will discuss later what to include in your emergency kit.
- Get familiar with your evacuation routes in your city. Be sure your family knows where the nearest shelter is located and how to get there.
3. Maintain your home to prepare for a tornado
Another way to prepare for a tornado is to make sure you are practicing proper home maintenance throughout the year. A well-kept home that withstands wind and rain is an excellent defense against tornado damage. Consider the following as you prepare for a tornado:
- Keep trees and bushes trimmed
- Cut back tree limbs near the home
- Use mulch or shredded bark instead of gravel in landscaping features
- Be sure your roof’s shingles are in good condition
- Have a plan to quickly secure any outdoor furniture or accessories that may become airborne during a tornado.
4. Practice your plan as you prepare for a tornado
It’s great to have an emergency plan in place, but as you prepare for a tornado, you must practice your emergency plan. Be sure every member of your family knows how to respond in the event of a tornado. Review these safety tips from Ready.gov:
If there is a tornado warning issued:
- Get to a safe building immediately
- If you are inside, go to a safe room, basement or cellar. You may also locate a place in the center of the building free from doors and windows. Seek shelter near the lowest level of the building.
- Keep away from windows, doors, and walls
- If you cannot get indoors, stay away from bridges and overpasses. Seek shelter in a low, flat location
- Protect your head and neck and try to avoid flying debris that may cause injury
As you prepare for a tornado, practice safety drills and preparations for various scenarios. Know what actions you will take if you are at home, work, in your car or outside when a tornado warning is issued.
5. Keep an emergency kit to prepare for a tornado
A well-stocked emergency kit is a must as you prepare for a tornado. Stock your emergency kit ahead of time and make it accessible so you can take it with you quickly to your shelter. You may also wish to keep an emergency kit in your car. Some items to include in your emergency kit include:
- Flashlights: During a severe weather event you may lose power and have no lights
- Battery powered radio: A battery-powered radio will keep you informed about the status of the tornado warning.
- First aid kit: A first aid kit is essential in your emergency kit for addressing injuries until help can arrive.
- Medications: If you take medication regularly, store some of it in your emergency kit. A good rule of thumb is 10-14 days’ worth of medication. You may not be able to get a prescription refilled after a tornado.
- Vital records and insurance documents: Vital records and insurance documents will come in handy after a tornado. Having copies of these documents in your emergency kit means they will be close at hand if you need to make a claim or show your identity.
- Essential tools: You may also want to keep a few basic tools in your emergency kit. When you prepare for a tornado, you should consider what will happen after the threat passes. You may need some basic tools such as a saw, hammer, and nails to secure your property.
6. Prepare for a tornado: Know the risk and signs
As you prepare for a tornado, get familiar with the risk in your area and the signs a tornado may develop. Watch for rotating clouds that may have a funnel-like shape. Be aware of a cloud of debris that looks like it is approaching your area. Tornados can descend from thunderstorm clouds, so be mindful of tornadoes during thunderstorm activity.
7. Prepare for a tornado with an after plan
What you do after the threat of a tornado has passed is just as important as what you do to prepare for one. Stay tuned to emergency broadcasts for information about when the danger has passed. Stay away from downed power lines. Save your phone’s battery for emergency use.
The best way to prepare for a tornado is to plan and know your risk. Take steps to stay safe before, during and after a tornado.