You will hopefully never end up in a situation where you are stuck in a tornado. Unfortunately, depending on where you live in the nation, you may end up experiencing a tornado, or several tornadoes, during your lifetime. Texas, for example, has an annual average of 120 tornadoes per year.
But a tornado, as scary as it may be, is still something that is very survivable if you prepare yourself in advance, and if you know what to do in the event that a tornado hits.
Know what to do to prepare.
Be sure that you have plenty of non-perishable goods (both to eat and to drink), at least 3 days’ worth of food and drink. Having a first aid kid is helpful, as you may suffer some sort of injury during an emergency.
Other important things to have included a light source that isn’t your phone (a candle, glow sticks, a flashlight), a generator to power electric devices, a radio, a fire extinguisher, and several batteries.
If you manage to avoid an emergency for an extended period of time, be sure to keep an eye on your supplies. As many supplies will ultimately go out of date, keeping an eye out for supplies and replacing them when they expire will ensure that you make it through an emergency safely.
Learn the best way to get to the most secure area of your home. If you have a basement, that’s likely the safest place for you to stay. If not, find the most interior room of your home, without a window.
If you live in a mobile home, you should set up an alternate plan, because a mobile home is not a safe place to escape a tornado.
What to do when a tornado actually comes.
If a tornado watch is issued, be cautious; while a tornado has not yet landed, the conditions for a tornado exist. If a tornado warning is issued, that is the time when you must put your plan into action.
If you are at home and your home is secure, get to the safest room you can. Placing a mattress against doors can shield you from debris; if you can’t manage to get a mattress to where you are, cover yourself with a blanket or a thick coat.
If you have enough advance warning and you are not in a physically secured home, get to the nearest emergency shelter that has been set up.
If you are in a vehicle or are nowhere near an emergency shelter, find the lowest-lying place you can, preferably one that is away from other cars. A ditch works well for this.
In any case, make sure that you cover your head with your arms, and that you are wearing a coat or a blanket for some sort of protection against debris.
What to do in the aftermath of a tornado.
Once a large storm is over, you aren’t completely out of the woods. A tornado leaves horrific devastation in its wake. Debris will be spread around the roads. Trees will be felled. And power lines will be down.
This is why you have all those emergency supplies listed above; to shelter in place. In the aftermath of a tornado, it’s possible that power will not be restored for days, so you should have food to eat, water to drink, and different power sources to ensure that you can communicate with the outside world if a major emergency hits.
Make sure that you keep up with the Emergency Alert System and the NOAA, which offer radio updates in emergencies.
But most importantly, try to keep a cool head. That is difficult to do in the aftermath of a major weather event, but if you prepare beforehand, you will have enough supplies to get through, and that will help you to continue making the best decisions in a time of crisis.
It is important to know how to stay safe during a tornado; once you’ve addressed any fear that may come with being in a tornado, you will be able to survive it much more easily.