Be Prepared with Tornado Safety Tips

The weather can be unpredictable and can lead to many dangerous situations. The recent tornadoes that swept over the South and Midwest, leaving more than three dozen people dead, is one unpredictable example.

“The 2012 tornado season is off to an early start,” according to the Washington Post and some basic tornado guidelines can help make sure that you and your family are doing everything you can to stay safe.

The first step is to understand the difference between a tornado watch and a tornado warning. A tornado watch means that a tornado is possible in and around the area that is being watched, while a tornado warning means that a “tornado has been sighted or indicated by weather radar” and you should immediately seek shelter.

Some common signs that a tornado is approaching include: dark, often greenish clouds, cloud of debris, large hail, a funnel (a visible rotating extension of the cloud base) or wall (an isolated lowering of the base of a thunderstorm), clouds and roaring noise.

If a tornado warning has been issued for your area, seek shelter underground immediately. If an underground shelter is not available, the next best alternative is a small room or hallway without any windows on the lowest level of your home. Shelter in a mobile home is not safe and seeking shelter elsewhere is strongly advised.

After a storm has passed, make sure to listen to the news for the most updated information, report fallen power lines or broken gas lines to the utility company immediately, use flashlights instead of candles when examining any buildings, take pictures of any damages and clean up any fire hazard material that has spilled.

Most importantly, don’t wait until it is too late to seek shelter. Designate a safe place for your family ahead of time and make sure to know your community’s warning system.

To learn more, visit the American Red Cross website at for a more complete checklist on tornado safety.

Additional information used in this post was also provided by the Washington Post. Review their full article here.

– Nina Kamber


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