1. Buy a survival kit and store along with:

  • Essential medication
  • Sturdy shoes
  • Written instructions on how to turn off your home's utilities

2. Conduct periodic tornado drills, so everyone remembers what to do when a tornado is approaching.

3. Stay tuned for storm warnings:

  •     Listen to your local radio and TV stations for updated storm information
  •     Know what a tornado WATCH and WARNING means
  •     A tornado WATCH means a tornado is possible in your area.
  •     A tornado WARNING means a tornado has been sighted and may be headed for your area.  Go     to safety immediately.
  •     Tornado WATCHES and WARNINGS are issued by the county or parish.
  •     When a tornado WATCH is issued, listen to local radio and TV stations for further updates.

4. Be alert to changing weather conditions:

    Blowing debris or the sound of an approaching tornado may alert you.  Many people report     tornadoes  sounds like a freight train.

5. When a tornado WARNING is issued:

  • If you are inside, go to the safe place you identified to protect yourself from glass and other flying objects.
  • If you are outside, hurry to the basement of a nearby sturdy building or lie flat in a ditch or low-lying area.
  • If you are in a car or mobile home, get out immediately and head for safety (as above).

6. After the tornado passes:

  • Watch out for fallen power lines and do not venture into the damaged area.
  • Listen to the radio for information and instructions.
  • Use a flashlight to inspect your home for damage (avoid using candles or matches)

Forget The Wizard of Oz notion that "twisters" only happen in Kansas. Tornados have been reported in every state.  While they typically occur during spring and summer, tornadoes can happen anytime during the year. With winds swirling at 200 miles per hour or more, a tornado can destroy just about anything in its path. Generally, there are weather signs and warnings that will alert you to take precautions. Be prepared by having various family members do each of the items on the checklist below. Then get together to discuss and finalize your Home Tornado Plan.

Home Tornado Plan

Plan and get ready: Pick a safety spot in your home where family members could gather during a tornado. (If you have a basement, make it your safety spot.) Make sure there are no windows or glass doors in the area. Keep this place uncluttered. If you live in a mobile home, choose another safety spot in a sturdy, nearby building.

Basement:       Yes        No

If yes, the basement is your safety spot. If no (or if you're in a high-rise building), choose another safety spot.

Location of safety spot:                                                                   

Put together a tornado Safety Kit in a clearly labeled, easy-to-grab box.

Location of Tornado Safety Kit: _______________________

Write instructions on how and when to turn off your utilities - electricity, gas, and water.

Instructions written:______________________(date)

Make sure all family members know the name of the county or parish where you live or are traveling, since tornado WATCHES and WARNINGS are issued by the county or parish.

Name of county/parish where you live: _______________________
Name of county/parish where you are traveling: ________________

And remember - when an earthquake, hurricane, fire, flood, or other emergency happens in your community, self-sufficiency is key to survival.  Help might not be immediately available following a wide-spread disaster leaving you and your family exposed to the elements.  Buy a Tornado Survival Kit.