Each year in the United States an average of 57 people are killed by tornadoes. Unfortunately in 2011...there were over 500 tornado fatalities across the country. Knowing what to do when a tornado warning is issued for your area may save your life and the lives of your loved ones.  When a tornado warning is issued for your area...a tornado is either in progress or about to occur.

Severe weather preparedness is not just for homes and schools.   A severe weather safety plan should be part of any businesses emergency safety plan.

Tornadoes can move quickly. The time between a warning and the tornado strike averages about 15 minutes. However...tornadoes can and do develop quickly in severe thunderstorms. That time between the warning and tornado strike could be measured in a few minutes...or even seconds! You must act quickly...your life may depend on it. Today we will take a look at tornado safety rules.

Preparing for a tornado...

- Know the county in which you live...work or are vacationing in... and the names of the nearby counties and major cities. Tornado warnings are issued using counties and cities as reference points.

- Keep a battery powered NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards with a warning alarm tone to receive warnings and statements. Listen to radio...television...and cable television stations for additional

- Develop a plan for you and your family for home...work...school... and when outdoors. Be sure everyone in your home knows in advance where to go and what to do in case of a tornado warning
and have frequent drills.

- Keep emergency supplies on hand during the tornado season... Including a supply of water...foods that will not spoil...and a first aid kit.

What to do when a tornado threatens or a warning is issued for your area...

- Keep away from doors...windows...and outside walls. Protect your head.

- In homes and small buildings go the basement or to an interior area on the lowest level. Get under something sturdy.

- In schools...hospitals...and public places...move to designated shelter areas. Interior rooms or interior hallways on the lowest floors are best.

- In mobile homes or vehicles...leave them and go to the nearest shelter.

- If you are caught outdoors...you should seek shelter in a basement... shelter or sturdy building. If you cannot quickly walk to a shelter:
-immediately get into a vehicle...buckle your seat belt and try to drive to the closest sturdy shelter.
-if flying debris occurs while you are driving...pull over and park.
Now you have the following options as a last resort:
-stay in the car with the seat belt on. Put your head down below the windows...covering with your hands and a blanket if possible.
-if you can safely get noticeably lower than the level of the roadway...exit your car and lie in that area...covering your head with your hands.
-your choice should be driven by your specific circumstances.

After a tornado...

- Watch out for fallen power lines and do not venture into damage areas.

- Inspect your property and motor vehicles for damage. Check for electrical problems and gas leaks...and report them to the power company at once.

- Stay out of damaged buildings until you are sure they are safe and will not collapse.

- Use only approved or chlorinated supplies of drinking water.

- Check food supplies. Some food may contain particles of glass or debris.

For more information...contact your nearest National Weather Service office or your local emergency management agency.

On Thursday...we will look at flash flood and flood safety rules.


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