lightning and tornado hitting village

Taking Cover: A Guide to Tornado Safety

Tornadoes, those swirling columns of destruction, can strike with surprising speed and ferocity. While they’re most common in the central United States, tornadoes can touch down anywhere, leaving a trail of devastation in their wake. But knowing what to do before, during, and after a tornado can significantly increase your chances of staying safe.

Before the Storm:

  • Get informed: Stay updated on weather forecasts and warnings issued by the National Weather Service (NWS). Sign up for local alerts and have a NOAA weather radio on hand.
  • Prepare a plan: Discuss tornado safety with your family and establish a designated shelter location in your home, ideally a basement or an interior room on the lowest floor away from windows.
  • Assemble an emergency kit: Stock up on non-perishable food, water, first-aid supplies, flashlights, batteries, and a battery-powered radio. Don’t forget a cell phone charger and important documents.
  • Practice your drill: Conduct regular tornado drills with your family so everyone knows what to do when the warning sounds.

When the Warning Sounds:

  • Seek shelter immediately: Don’t wait to see or hear the tornado. Go to your designated shelter area and crouch low, covering your head and neck with your arms.
  • Stay away from windows and doors: Flying debris poses the greatest threat during a tornado.
  • If you’re in a high-rise building: Go to the lowest floor possible, an interior hallway, or a designated storm shelter. Avoid elevators.
  • If you’re in a mobile home: Evacuate immediately and seek shelter in a sturdy building. Mobile homes offer little to no protection from tornadoes.
  • If you’re caught outdoors: Find a low-lying ditch or depression and lie flat, covering your head with your hands. Stay away from trees, cars, and other potential projectiles.

After the Storm:

  • Stay sheltered until the danger is over: Don’t go outside until the NWS confirms the tornado has passed.
  • Be cautious of downed power lines: Never touch them or anything they’re touching.
  • Check for injuries: Help those who are injured and call for medical attention if needed.
  • Report damage: Contact your local authorities to report any damage to your property or infrastructure.


  • Tornadoes can strike quickly, so it’s crucial to act fast when a warning is issued.
  • Every second counts, so don’t delay in seeking shelter.
  • Having a plan and practicing your drill beforehand can make a world of difference in a chaotic situation.

By staying informed, prepared, and taking the necessary precautions, you can significantly reduce your risk of injury and harm during a tornado. Remember, your safety is your top priority.

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