When a tornado warning is issued: Dive for cover! Now! Don’t wait for it to get bad, just go now.
That’s it, really.
Well, except for waiting.
And, how long do you wait? The National Weather Service will specify how long the alert is in effect. Stay in your safe location until the alert expires.
Tornados often form on the tail end of thunderstorms. So, it’s important to stay in a safe location until the threat is completely past.
Tornado Emergency Kit
It is helpful to have a few things set aside in your tornado room. I provide a full checklist below, but I’ll discuss a few of the items here.
Flashlight: The power often goes out during major storms. Finding your way around the house in the dark is key to your safety. If it’s dark and there is debris everywhere, a flashlight is critical.
The presence of light in your no-windows and now no-power storm safe room can be a necessary comfort item for scared children.
And don’t use candles during tornadoes! They can blow over (remember the 300 MHP winds?) and start a house fire. Talk about making a really bad situation worse!
AM/FM Radio: While the NOAA Weather Radio is great at getting alerts to you, the only news it gives you afterwards is the weather report. A battery operated AM/FM radio can be helpful for hearing local news reports after a disaster.
Batteries: Make sure you have extra batteries on hand. Rotate your battery stock at least every year so they remain fresh. I find it helpful if all my devices use the same batteries. Having to stock AA, AAA, CR123, and D batteries is a pain and expensive!
Entertainment Items: A good book, playing cards, and toys for young children can make waiting out a storm bearable.
Blankets and Pillows: In addition to the obvious uses, you can use these for added protection from debris during a tornado.
Food and Water: It’s helpful to have a few snacks and a couple of bottles of water stored for extended tornado alerts. It’s generally not safe to wander up into your kitchen during a possible tornado to get a drink of water. This is especially helpful to have on hand for your kids.
If you house collapses around you and you are trapped until rescuers come, the food and water you have stored may be all you can reach until help comes.