A tornado safety plan for your family: While tornadoes cannot be predicted, they can be planned for

Follow these simple suggestions to prepare an advance safety plan.
Tornadoes have hit every state in the union and have occurred in every month of the year. Not even the best meteorologist can predict exactly when or where a tornado will hit. That is why you need to prepare in advance by developing an effective safety plan and sharing it with each family member.

Though tornadoes can occur at any time of the day or night, they often strike in late afternoon or early evening, when cool evening air collides with warmer daytime temperatures. If the weather looks threatening or weather media have issued a tornado watch or warning, be prepared to take action. Here are some preparation guidelines.

Tornado safety Precautions to take when youre under a tornado warning A tornado safety plan for your family: While tornadoes cannot be predicted, they can be planned for

A tornado safety plan for your family

1. Determine the safest area in the house. Basements, if you have one, are generally considered to be the best place to go in the event of a tornado warning or if one is spotted nearby. In the basement, go to the southwest wall, unless experts in your area designate otherwise, since many storms proceed from this direction. Stay away from windows to avoid shattered glass caused by high winds.
If you have no basement, go to a small, interior room of the house, like a closet or bathroom. Turn over heavy objects to keep from being tossed around by the storm. Under a staircase is another possible place of protection. In public, look for similar areas of retreat, should a storm warning be sounded. If you are driving a car as a tornado approaches, pull over, park, and get into a nearby ditch. Don’t try to outrace the storm.

2. Store sealed containers of water and food in the basement or a closet in case of power outages, service disruptions, and store closings. You also may want to add flashlights or lanterns and a few blankets and medical supplies, like bandages and first aid ointment, to your stockpile.

3. Since storms can occur during the day, create a plan telling each family member where to meet. For example, school children arriving home to find their home damaged need to know where to locate Mom and Dad or a close relative. Parents coming home from work should know where other family members might be staying in the event of home damage or blocked access due to fallen trees or wires.

4. Instruct children who may be playing elsewhere in the neighborhood about what to do if the weather becomes stormy. Should they to a friend’s house or try to make it home? Everyone who is away from home in an unstructured setting (not school or work) should know what to do and where to go if a storm comes up.

5. Instruct kids to listen to weather forecasts and heed warnings if they are away from parents or home alone. You may want to designate a neighbor or relative as the contact person or meeting place if family members are scattered during a storm.

Above all, encourage everyone to remain calm. With a solid plan of action in place, each family member will know what to do and avoid mistakes, confusion, and fear. The next time a storm threatens, you needn’t worry when you have a well-thought-out plan in place.

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