3 Minutes to Safety

Parson's Plant Before

Parson's Plant - July 13, 2004

Parson’s Plant – Before July 13, 2004            

Parson’s Plant – July 13, 2004 - 2:41 pm

On July 13, 2004 at 2:41 in the afternoon, an F4 Tornado carrying devastating winds up to 240 mph struck Parson’s Manufacturing near Roanoke, Illinois. It was shift change, with about 140 people in the plant. Cars were lofted and mangled. I-beams were twisted.

No one was killed; in fact, no one was even injured. Looking at the devastation, you wonder “How can that be?” The answer: Parson’s Manufacturing established and practiced an extraordinarily effective severe weather plan.

Each year an average of 25 tornados touch down in eastern Iowa and western Illinois. Imagine if a tornado like the one at Roanoke strikes your facility. Would you be prepared? Would your employees be safe? Do you have an effective severe weather safety plan in place and in practice in your facilities?

The National Weather Service mission is protection of life and property, and we would like to help you develop effective severe weather safety plans for your facilities. We have developed a Severe Weather Preparedness Workshop for Industry designed for safety policy makers. These workshop materials are available here for your use.

Online Materials

Related Resources

A Sampling of Related Publications

Title and Publication #


Design and Construction
Guidance for Community Shelters

(FEMA 361)

Guidance manual for engineers, architects, building officials, and prospective shelter owners. It presents important information about the design and construction of community shelters that will provide protection during tornado and hurricane events. For the purpose of this manual, a community shelter is defined as a shelter that is designed and constructed to protect a large number of people from a natural hazard event. The number of persons taking refuge in the shelter will typically be more than 12 and could be up to several hundred or more.

Taking Shelter From the Storm: Building a Safe Room Inside Your House.
(FEMA 320)

Residential saferoom guidelines, generally for less than 12 people. Includes building plans.

Emergency Management Guide for Business and Industry

A step-by-step approach to emergency planning, response and recovery for companies of all sizes. Available at: http://www.fema.gov/news-release/business-and-industry-offered-free-emergency-management-guide  


To order printed copies of FEMA publications including those listed above, call the FEMA Publications Distribution Facility at ( 800) 480-2520.


Title and Publication #


Floods: The Awesome Power
(NOAA 200253)

Full color brochure, produced by NOAA and the American Red Cross. Includes information on floods, flash floods, preparedness, and safety.

Thunderstorms, Tornadoes, and Lightning (NOAA 99050)

Full color brochure, produced by NOAA and the American Red Cross. Includes information on preparedness and safety for all the threats of thunderstorms and tornadoes.

Winter Storms: The Deceptive Killers
(NOAA 200160)

Full color brochure, produced by NOAA and the American Red Cross. Includes information on preparedness and safety for all the hazards of winter.

A complete library of downloadable NOAA/NWS publications is available at http://www.weather.gov/om/brochures.shtml.


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