Today is February 22, 2017

Know your tornado terms

Familiarize yourself with these terms to help identify a tornado hazard:

Tornado Watch
Tornadoes are possible. Remain alert for approaching storms. Watch the sky and stay tuned to NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio, or television for information.

Tornado Warning
A tornado has been sighted or indicated by weather radar. Take shelter immediately.

 

What to do before a tornado

Be alert to changing weather conditions.

  • Listen to NOAA Weather Radio or to commercial radio or television newscasts for the latest information.
  • Look for approaching storms
  • Look for the following danger signs:
    • Dark, often greenish sky
    • Large hail
    • A large, dark, low-lying cloud (particularly if rotating)
    • Loud roar, similar to a freight train.
If you see approaching storms or any of the danger signs, be prepared to take shelter immediately.

 

What to do during a tornado

If you are under a tornado WARNING, seek shelter immediately!

If you are in: Then:
A structure (e.g. residence, small building, school, nursing home, hospital, factory, shopping center, high-rise building) Go to a pre-designated shelter area such as a safe room, basement, storm cellar, or the lowest building level. If there is no basement, go to the center of an interior room on the lowest level (closet, interior hallway) away from corners, windows, doors, and outside walls. Put as many walls as possible between you and the outside. Get under a sturdy table and use your arms to protect your head and neck. Do not open windows.
A vehicle, trailer, or mobile home Get out immediately and go to the lowest floor of a sturdy, nearby building or a storm shelter. Mobile homes, even if tied down, offer little protection from tornadoes.
The outside with no shelter Lie flat in a nearby ditch or depression and cover your head with your hands. Be aware of the potential for flooding.

Do not get under an overpass or bridge. You are safer in a low, flat location.

Never try to outrun a tornado in urban or congested areas in a car or truck. Instead, leave the vehicle immediately for safe shelter.

Watch out for flying debris. Flying debris from tornadoes causes most fatalities and injuries.

Recovering from disaster

Recovering from a disaster is usually a gradual process. Safety is a primary issue, as are mental and physical well-being. If assistance is available, knowing how to access it makes the process faster and less stressful. This section offers some general advice on steps to take after disaster strikes in order to begin getting your home, your community, and your life back to normal.

Ensure your safety

Find out how to care for your safety after a disaster

Your first concern after a disaster is your family’s health and safety. You need to consider possible safety issues and monitor family health and well-being.

Aiding the Injured

Check for injuries. Do not attempt to move seriously injured persons unless they are in immediate danger of death or further injury. If you must move an unconscious person, first stabilize the neck and back, then call for help immediately.

  • If the victim is not breathing, carefully position the victim for artificial respiration, clear the airway, and commence mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.
  • Maintain body temperature with blankets. Be sure the victim does not become overheated.
  • Never try to feed liquids to an unconscious person.
Health
  • Be aware of exhaustion. Don’t try to do too much at once. Set priorities and pace yourself. Get enough rest.
  • Drink plenty of clean water.. Eat well.. Wear sturdy work boots and gloves.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and clean water often when working in debris.
Safety Issues
  • Be aware of new safety issues created by the disaster. Watch for washed out roads, contaminated buildings, contaminated water, gas leaks, broken glass, damaged electrical wiring, and slippery floors.
  • Inform local authorities about health and safety issues, including chemical spills, downed power lines, washed out roads, smoldering insulation, and dead animals.

Returning home

General Tips
Don't return to your flood-damaged home before the area is declared to be safe by local officials. Returning home can be both physically and mentally challenging. Above all, use caution.

Check for injuries. Do not attempt to move seriously injured persons unless they are in immediate danger of death or further injury. If you must move an unconscious person, first stabilize the neck and back, then call for help immediately.

  • Keep a battery-powered radio with you so you can listen for emergency updates and news reports.
  • Use a battery-powered flash light to inspect a damaged home.
    Note: The flashlight should be turned on outside before entering - the battery may produce a spark that could ignite leaking gas, if present.
  • Watch out for animals, especially poisonous snakes. Use a stick to poke through debris.
  • Use the phone only to report life-threatening emergencies.
  • Stay off the streets. If you must go out, watch for fallen objects; downed electrical wires; and weakened walls, bridges, roads, and sidewalks.

Coping with disaster

The emotional toll that disaster brings can sometimes be even more devastating than the financial strains of damage and loss of home, business, or personal property.

Understand Disaster Events

  • Everyone who sees or experiences a disaster is affected by it in some way.
  • It is normal to feel anxious about your own safety and that of your family and close friends.
  • Profound sadness, grief, and anger are normal reactions to an abnormal event.
  • Acknowledging your feelings helps you recover.
  • Focusing on your strengths and abilities helps you heal.
  • Accepting help from community programs and resources is healthy.
  • Everyone has different needs and different ways of coping.
  • It is common to want to strike back at people who have caused great pain.
Children and older adults are of special concern in the aftermath of disasters. Even individuals who experience a disaster “second hand” through exposure to extensive media coverage can be affected.

Contact local faith-based organizations, voluntary agencies, or professional counselors for counseling. Additionally, FEMA and state and local governments of the affected area may provide crisis counseling assistance.

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For more information view the Department of Homeland Security tornado page on ready.gov.