Tornado Safety

Hazards of Tornadoes

Tornadoes are nature's most violent and erratic storms. A tornado can travel for miles along the ground, lift, and suddenly change direction and strike again. There is little you can do to protect your home or workplace from the strength of tornado winds, but there are actions you can take to protect yourself and your family better.

Tornado Watch

A tornado watch is given when weather conditions are favorable to the formation of tornadoes, such as during severe thunderstorms. During a tornado watch, keep an eye on the weather and be prepared to take shelter immediately if conditions worsen.

Tornado Warning

A tornado warning is given when a tornado funnel is sighted or indicated by radar. You should take shelter immediately. Because tornadoes can form and move quickly, there may not be time for a warning. That's why it's important to stay alert during severe storms.

Warning Sirens

Local officials authorize sirens to sound. When sirens are sounded in your community, take immediate shelter and tune to a local radio station for further information. Do not call local law enforcement, fire departments, city halls or utilities to ask why the sirens are sounding.

These sirens are outdoor warning sirens and are not meant to be heard indoors. Weather monitors and scanners can be purchased for your home or business to receive weather and other emergency information.

You will be notified that the danger has passed by the local radio station. There is no "all clear" signal from the sirens.

  1. At Home
  2. Long-Span Buildings
  3. Mobile Homes
  4. Office & Medical Buildings
  5. Open Spaces

At Home

Get to a shelter immediately and avoid situating yourself close to a window. Flying glass can injure or kill. Do not open windows. Houses do not explode and allowing strong winds in can do damage or cause injury. The safest place in the home is the interior part of the basement, preferably under something sturdy like a table. Stay out from under heavy objects like pianos or refrigerators on the floor above. If you have no basement, go to an inside room on the lowest floor, like a closet, hallway, or bathroom with no windows.

Safety Precautions

For added protection, get under something strong, like a workbench or heavy table. If possible, cover your body with a blanket or sleeping bag and protect your head with anything available, even your hands.

If your home appears undamaged, check carefully for gas or other utility line breaks. If the lights are out use a flashlight only and do not use any open flame.