Tornado Safety Tips
If you live in the midwest, you have most likely experienced a tornado in your general area. If you have not, consider yourself lucky. Here in central Illinois, we have had some major damage done to some of our cities that take months or years to recover. The last tornado in our area that caused extensive damage was in Taylorville in 2018. We are incredibly thankful we did not have any major injuries or deaths but we did experience some major structural damage to many homes, personal property, and businesses. SERVPRO was proud to be a leader in restoration during that time of need. Tornadoes are difficult to prepare for because many times we don’t have a lot of notice. What we can do is be prepared as possible ahead of time. We have put together some potentially life saving tips for you and your family to read over and take action.
- Have a Plan. If you have a basement, please use it. If you do not have a basement or lower level, go to an interior room with no windows or outside doors. Using a mattress to cover your head and body from debris is recommended, if you do not have a mattress, use a blanket, if that is not available, use your arms to protect your head from possible flying debris. It’s also recommended to have an emergency kit with enough supplies to provide for your family for 72 hours.
- Practice your Plan. Having a plan at home is great but if no one in your family is aware, it’s useless. Be sure to practice your plan using different times of day and while your family is in different areas of the home. Be sure they are aware of the safest areas of your home and the least safest. Explain to small children why it’s so important to be away from windows and doors and the importance of being face down and covering their heads because of flying debris.
- Talk with your children about their plan at school as well. Again, reiterate the importance of positioning. Communication and practice will help your child to feel more secure and confident in a time of crisis.
- Do not bother with your windows. It’s been said to raise windows in order to equalize pressure in your home during a tornado. This is a myth. The fact is if there is a tornado over your home, it’s likely the windows will be blown out anyway so let’s make sure you are nowhere near them. Please do not bother with the windows at all and go straight to your safe room and take cover.
- Know the sounds and alerts. Make yourself and your family aware of what the tornado siren sounds like in your community. Watch your local news or listen to your local radio. They will likely be keeping you updated on locations and recommending actions to keep you and your family safe.
I have copied the definitions for both tornado warning and tornado watch directly from the National Weather Service website; weather.gov
- Tornado Watch: Be Prepared! Tornadoes are possible in and near the watch area. Review and discuss your emergency plans and check supplies and your safe room. Be ready to act quickly if a warning is issued or you suspect a tornado is approaching. Acting early helps to save lives! Watches are issued by the storm prediction center for counties where tornadoes may occur. The watch area is typically large, covering numerous counties or even states.
- Tornado Warning: Take Action! A tornado has been sighted or indicated by weather radar. There is imminent danger to life and property. Move to an interior room on the lowest floor of a sturdy building. Avoid windows. If in a mobile home, a vehicle, or outdoors, move to the closest substantial shelter and protect yourself from flying debris. Warnings are issued by your local forecast office. Warnings typically encompass a much smaller area (around the size of a city or small county) that may be impacted by a tornado identified by a forecaster on radar or by a trained spotter/law enforcement who is watching the storm.
- If you are driving and can find a shelter inside a building, that is best. If there are absolutely no buildings in your area to seek shelter, you should look for the lowest possible land and lie on your stomach covering your head with your arms. If there is no low lying land, your last option would be to remain in your car with your seat belt on crouching as low as your can under the windows covering your head. Using a blanket or any material to cover your face and head to protect yourself from flying debris. Do not shelter under a bridge or overpass.
SERVPRO of Springfield, we are your restoration experts. We are Here to Help you and your family through any disaster.
As always, if disaster strikes, SERVPRO of Springfield, Morgan, Cass, and Montgomery counties is always here for you. We can be reached 24/7 at 217-528-7775.