When a tornado strikes and panic hits, not many people know what to do. With the recent high incidents of deadly tornadoes in Oklahoma, survival skills and safety should be top priority. Although tornadoes are common in the central part of the United States, they can form anywhere, even in large cities.
Know the Warning Signs
- Tornadoes can strike with little warning, though meteorologists are a better able to predict the signs if one is coming. A few minute warning can provide opportunity for those in the tornado’s path to seek shelter. If you notice dark green skies, large hail, dark rotating low-lying cloud, and a load roar similar to that of a train, seek proper shelter immediately.
Tornado Watch vs Tornado Warning
- A tornado watch means that conditions are favorable for tornadoes to form. Be alert for changes in the weather and listen to your local weather stations for updated information. If you have time, move any outside items to minimize flying debris and keep your car keys with you. If you hear a tornado siren, stay inside and take cover.
A tornado warning means a tornado has been spotted or on radar in your area. This means you may only have seconds to take cover.
Never try to outrun a tornado but instead quickly find the safest place possible.
- At Home: The safest place to be is underground such as a basement or storm shelter. If these aren’t an option, take cover in the central part of the house and away from windows: bathrooms, closets, and a hallway or under a heavy piece of furniture.
- Office Building: Go directly to the center of the building in a windowless area and crouch down covering your head. Stairwells are usually a good place to take shelter if they aren’t crowded. Stay out of elevators since the power may go out and you could become trapped.
- School: Follow the instructions from the school staff and go to an interior hall as directed. Stay away from windows and large rooms such as the gym.
- In a Vehicle: Abandon the vehicle and seek shelter in a sturdy structure. If you are in the open country, seek shelter in the nearest ditch, lie face down protecting the back of your head with your hands.
- After the tornado has passed stay in your shelter until emergency workers have arrived or the storm is over. When you go outside, be alert for downed power lines and puddles that have wires in them.
Damages caused by tornadoes are covered under homeowners and business insurance policies. If you sustain tornado damage, please contact us as soon as possible. Standard homeowners and renters insurance also provide coverage for additional living expenses if your home is destroyed or made unavailable because of the storm.