Fall Tornado Season

Unfortunately, Mother Nature is one of the things we never have much control over. One of the realities of living in the Central or Southeastern United States is fall tornado season.

While you can’t prevent tornadoes, you CAN control how prepared you are for weather-related emergencies. Here are a series of tips from Ready.gov and the National Atmospheric and Oceanic Administration (NOAA.)

Preparing for a Tornado

  • Know your area’s tornado risk. In the U.S., the Midwest and the Southeast have a greater risk for tornadoes.
  • Sign up for your community’s warning system. The Emergency Alert System (EAS) and NOAA Weather Radio also provide emergency alerts. If your community has sirens, then become familiar with the warning tone.
  • Pay attention to weather reports. Meteorologists can predict when conditions might be right for a tornado.
  • Identify and practice going to a safe shelter such as a safe room built using FEMA criteria or a storm shelter built to ICC 500 standards. The next best protection is a small, interior, windowless room or basement on the lowest level of a sturdy building.
  • Plan for your pet. They are an important member of your family, so they need to be included in your family’s emergency plan.
  • Prepare for a long-term stay at home or sheltering in place by gathering emergency supplies, cleaning supplies, non-perishable foods, water, medical supplies and medication.

Staying Safe During a Tornado

  • Immediately go to a safe location that you have identified.
  • Pay attention to EAS, NOAA Weather Radio, or local alerting systems for current emergency information and instructions.
  • Do not try to outrun a tornado if you are traveling in a vehicle. If you are in a car or outdoors and cannot get into a building, cover your head and neck with your arms, and cover your body with a coat or blanket, if possible.

Staying Safe After a Tornado

  • Save your phone calls for emergencies and use text messaging or social media to communicate with family and friends.
  • Pay attention to EAS, NOAA Weather Radio, and local authorities for updated information.
  • Stay clear of fallen power lines and broken utility lines.
  • Contact your healthcare provider if you are sick and need medical attention. Wait for further care instructions and continue to shelter in place.
  • Wear appropriate gear during clean-up, such as thick-soled shoes, long pants, and work gloves, and use appropriate face coverings or masks if cleaning mold or other debris.

Stay safe this fall. Learn more emergency tips for tornadoes and other natural disasters at Ready.gov.

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