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Tornado Safety

Introduction  |  Before and During a Storm  |  Tornado Safety in Schools  |  Family Disaster Plan

Before and During a Storm

Before the Storm:
Map of NOAA Weather Radio stations across Michigan. Source: National 
Weather Service
  • Develop a plan for you and your family for home, work, school and when outdoors.
  • Have frequent drills.
  • Know the county/parish in which you live, and keep a highway map nearby to follow storm movement from weather bulletins.
  • Have a NOAA Weather Radio with a warning alarm tone and battery back-up to receive warnings.
  • Listen to radio and television for information.
  • If planning a trip outdoors, listen to the latest forecasts and take necessary action if threatening weather is possible.

Map of NOAA Weather Radio stations across Michigan. Source: National Weather Service
Click on image to enlarge (98 kb)
If a Warning is issued or if threatening weather approaches:
Tornado safety position. If necessary to take shelter outside, then 
(1) seek a ditch; (2) get as low to the ground as possible; and (3) cover 
your head.
  • In a mobile home: Get out! Even if your home is tied down, you are probably safer outside, even if the only alternative is to seek shelter out in the open. Most tornadoes can destroy even tied-down mobile homes; and it is best not to play the low odds that yours will make it. If your community has a tornado shelter, go there fast. If there is a sturdy permanent building within easy running distance, seek shelter there. Otherwise, lie flat on low ground away from your home, protecting your head. If possible, use open ground away from trees and cars, which can be blown onto you.
  • In a car or truck: Vehicles are extremely dangerous in a tornado. If the tornado is visible, far away, and the traffic is light, you may be able to drive out of its path by moving at right angles to the tornado. Otherwise, park the car as quickly and safely as possible -- out of the traffic lanes. (It is safer to get the car out of mud later if necessary than to cause a crash.) Get out and seek shelter in a sturdy building. If in the open country, run to low ground away from any cars (which may roll over on you). Lie flat and face-down, protecting the back of your head with your arms. Avoid seeking shelter under bridges, which can create deadly traffic hazards while offering little protection against flying debris.
  • In a shopping mall or large store: Do not panic. Watch for others. Move as quickly as possible to an interior bathroom, storage room or other small enclosed area, away from windows.
  • In a church or theater: Do not panic. If possible, move quickly but orderly to an interior bathroom or hallway, away from windows. Crouch face-down and protect your head with your arms. If there is no time to do that, get under the seats or pews, protecting your head with your arms or hands.
  • If caught outdoors: Head for the nearest ditch and assume the tornado safety position.

Tornado safety position. If necessary to take shelter outside, then (1) seek a ditch; (2) get as low to the ground as possible; and (3) cover your head.
Click on image to enlarge (30 kb)
 


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