tornado preparedness

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#3: Know the drill.
Practice tornado drills with children, and know the routine of
heading to a safe room. Regularly talk about tornadoes and the
signs a tornado is headed your way. Survivors know they can
come even without thunderstorms.

  • Find the safe room. Take cover in a place without windows
    (and put as many walls between you and the storm as
  • underground shelter
  • interior part of the basement
  • interior bathroom
  • closet or hallway on the lowest floor
  • A place away from heavy objects like a refrigerator

  • Hunker down with padding. Grab a cushion from the sofa
    on the way to the safe room. Your safe room should have
    some padding materials handy, such as blankets. You can
    also hunker down under padding, such as a mattress to help
    shield the debris.

  • Live in a mobile home? Get out! Mobile home dwellers
    should seek refuge in a nearby building or designated
    shelter. If there's no shelter, it's better to lie down flat
    outside, somewhere away from the mobile home.

  • Not at a home? If there's no dedicated storm shelter, take
    cover as best you can. Avoid building elevators as the
    electricity could fail and you'll be stuck. Get yourself to the
    interior bathroom or stairwell on the first floor. At the
    movies, you can take shelter between the seats crouched
    into a ball.

  • Driving? Take a lesson from storm chasers and the Red
    Cross (and not Hollywood). It's true that your car could be
    tossed like a missile, but experts say you should stay in
    your parked car with your seatbelt on, and put your head
    down to shelter yourself from the window debris if you are
    unable to seek underground shelter. You can put your jacket
    over your head to help cushion potential blow.

    Should you head under an overpass while driving!? No!
    Remember that Hollywood is in California and they know
    nothing of real tornadoes. They do know earthquakes and
    what happens is that people get crushed under the cement.
    Why is their head in the fog about the overpass thing for
    tornadoes then?

    How to prepare your car for tornadoes:

  • Tornado Safety Tips. If you're faced with a tornado
  • Aim get to the bottom floor of a building.
  • Stay an the innermost area of the building (away from
  • Know a good location is a bathroom, closet or hallway.

#4: Don't waste precious minutes (get moving!).
To survive a tornado, do not believe in false alarms. This means
you should treat every watch and warning as the real deal. Seek
shelter and don't drive thinking it's a false alarm. Here's the deal
Just because you don't hear the sirens, doesn't mean there isn't
a tornado headed your way. As is the case many times, the
tornado has wiped out the siren communications!

Tornadoes come with an average warning time of around fifteen
minutes. Take every warning seriously and be on alert.

  • Stay informed.  Your cell phone may provide some tornado
    alert warnings (also text messages from concerned friends
    and family), but you should listen tune into the local news
    on television and listen to the NOAA weather radio reports
    for updates. You will hear reports of the tornado strength,
    which is based Fujita Scale with ratings between F0
    (weakest) to F5 (strongest).

  • Get your gear. Store sleeping bags and wool blankets in
    your bug in location (the centermost portion of your home,
    away from windows and on the lowest floor). Preppers will
    want to also store helmets (construction hard hats, or even
    bike helmets will help)

Before the tornado (if there is still time) ...

  • Put on a hard hat or helmet.  Grab a bicycle helmet, riding
    helmet or work hard hat (or have one close by). While the
    first priority is finding a safe room, if you have a designated
    area you should stock hard hats for every member of your
    family and  guest or two. Helmets are cheap and could
    prove a lifesaving decision.

  • Make sure you're wearing sturdy shoes. Emerging from
    the rubble after the twister rips through your home, you will
    need to protect your feet from shards of glass and various
    concrete and wooden obstacles.

  • Hunker down and huddle together and brace for the
    worst. Lock arms at the elbow, curl into a ball and huddle
    together under something sturdy, brace for the worst and
    hope for the best. Survivors are often incredulous that the
    person gets sucked into the debris cloud.

After the tornado (and you are okay)...
  • Get out of a building that has suffered structural damage.
  • Be aware of debris - it could still kill you!

#5: Be your own first responder.

  • After you've weathered the storm, use your whistle to notify
    survivors of your whereabouts.

  • Triage the injured and use doors that have flung in the
    debris as stretchers to move injured people away from

  • Cleanup potentially flammable spills as best you can.

Other considerations for tornadoes...

Mini tornado kits:
You can feel more prepared for a tornado when you create mini
kits and keep them throughout your home so you can grab them
and go. A mini kit could include: small bottled waters,
food bars,
mini first aid kit, a flashlight, whistles, lip balm, and a small
stuffed toy for a child.

Water storage:
Your home may become flattened like a pancake, so why bother
storing water in the tub? The reason you'd do this for the chance
your home still stands!

Water municipalities, as well as electricity and gas could be out
for several days as crews work towards recovery of the tornado
torn area. Your water supply will increase your self-sufficiency
and you will be able to help friends and neighbors.

  • Consider a WaterBob. As a prepper, you may already own
    WaterBob for other emergencies, but even if you do, you
    may want two (or three) depending on the size of your

Knowledge weighs nothing is a popular prepping saying. Now
that you know a little more about how to read the signs of an
impending tornado, and you know the signs you are better
prepared to handle whatever comes your way.

Improve your survival chances if confronted by a tornado!
Learn the warning signs!
  • Look and looming overhead you may see dark, green skies
    and low clouds.
  • Listen and you may hear a loud roar, and finally
  • Notice and take action if large hail falling catches your

These are the signs. Twisters are a hundred times worse than
anything Hollywood could ever portray, or so say the survivors.
Ripping to shreds and a thousand pieces everything you've
worked hard to collect in your lifetime, the aftermath of a twister
leaves you with little but hope for survival of a loved one or
family pet. Unless of course you're a prepper and have a few
plans of action.

When it's a tornado watch you still have time, when it's a
tornado warning, you've got to get to your safe place, so says
ABC News on how to survive a tornado:
Prepare for EMP Attacks and Solar Storms
If you're moving to a tornado prone area of the country, or
visiting a state in tornado alley, take heed of this information:

  1. Never seek shelter under an overpass. Hollywood is dead
    wrong on this one! During a tornado, the underpass you
    drive through will be a wind tunnel of destruction.
    Unfortunately, this is an area of significant reported deaths
    that could have been avoided.
  2. Never try to out run the tornado! A tornado can travel
    upwards of 70 mph. Instead, look for a fixed object in the
    horizon to see if the tornado is travelling left of right. Your
    aim will be the opposite direction. If it's not moving left or
    right, then it's headed your way. Make a decision (right or
    left) or if you're stuck in traffic, pull over to the side if you
    can and abandon your vehicle then make your decision to
    head right or left.
  3. Stuck in your car? Buckle up and cover your head and body
    from the glass which may shard.
  4. Seek whatever shelter you can find.
  • An overturned couch, a mattress or cushions can
    provide a layer of protection.
  • People have survived in ditches, by covering their
    heads and lying flat.

Nothing can guarantee absolute safety during a tornado, but you
can prepare! First lets get to the reality of tornadoes with some
sobering facts...

  • Danger of tornadoes lurk in all 50 states! Tornadoes are
    most prevalent in Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma, but even
    if you don't live in tornado alley, a tornado has visited your
    state!  Tornadoes have twisted through all 50 of them. The
    central United States has more tornadoes than anywhere
    else in the world, around 700 of them annually.

  • Tornado alley includes the following states:
  1. Texas
  2. Oklahoma
  3. Kansas
  4. Nebraska
  5. South Dakota
  6. Iowa and
  7. Minnesota

Tornadoes can strike anywhere!

  • Twilight zone. Did you know that most twisters, which are
    born of thunderstorms, start forming between 3 p.m. and 9
    p.m.? They hit at 250 miles per hour. Now that's some
    "dusk" storm!

  • Hail. Tornadoes are born of thunderstorms (thunder and
    lightning), and are accompanied by incredible hail balls that
    bomb the landscape.

  • Debris. Tornadoes themselves don't kill people, it's the
    accompanying debris that impales, and crushes. And here's
    a weird factoid: there was a fast-growing flesh-eating
    fungus after a tornado in Joplin, MO that seems like
    something out of a sci-fi movie, but it was the real deal.
    Thirteen people were infected and five of them died!

How to prepare for a tornado prepper-style is different from
tornado preparedness for the average person. Before a twister
heads your way grab a helmet, a whistle and ear plugs. Discover
more thoughtful preparedness ideas for surviving tornadoes.

Happy endings...
Even if you have your NOAA weather radio handy, you can never
totally prepare for a tornado. Like any other crisis, you are a
prepper and you know how to deal with it!

Thankfully also F5 Tornadoes are extremely rare! Somewhere
under the rainbow, blue birds will fly again after a tornado
strikes. Like any natural disaster, there's no place like home
when you're prepared!

Articles on other natural disasters...

Related articles...

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Tornado Preparedness
Ultimate prepper list on how to prepare for a tornado

Prepare for a tornado, prepper-style!
Tornado season is March through June, but even in September
you can find tornaoes. Tornado alley is seven states but... Severe
thunderstorms and tornadoes happen all across our country
whether it's somewhere under the rainbow in Kansas or over the
Hollywood Hills of California. They can happen anytime. Do you
have a family emergency plan for when a tornado strikes?

Just because your home is "up to code" doesn't mean it can
withstand a tornado, and just because you're a prepper, doesn't
mean you're ready to handle a tornado. Is anyone ever really
ready for a tornado?

One thing's for certain: you can feel more in control when you
prepare for a tornado. Prepare for tornado season well before it
happens, here's how...

How to Prepare for a Tornado
Take steps to prepare for a tornado from a prepper's

#1: Make a tornado emergency kit.
Well before a twister is headed your way get your gear in order.
We'll get to the food in a bit, but the best way for how to
prepare for a tornado is to be self sufficient. Brace for the storm,
then be ready to be your own first responder. With this in mind,
here are some tools to help you stay protected:

  • Create a safe room. David Copperfield once said "There is a
    safe spot within every tornado. My job is to find it." As a
    prepper, you can find the safest spot in your home to
    weather the storm, such as a bathroom or closet. Learn
    more about safe rooms from

  • Keep your first aid kit up to date. Take a look at your
    medical kits to replenish supplies. Another thing you can do
    to prepare for a tornado is to get some first aid knowledge
    under your belt. Take some classes, buy a book, stock up on
    extra first aid essentials so you can respond to neighbors
    and friends who may need your assistance. Like they say,
    knowledge weighs nothing and you can learn to improvise
    even if the damage is so great you've lost all your first aid

  • Get amergency weather radio. Every prepper needs a
    communications plan. With a survival radio you'll be able to
    listen for tornado watches and warnings through the NOAA
    (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration - the
    United States Department of Commerce). The midland
    weather radio, right, page is an ideal communications device
    for tornado preparedness, as is the Voyager pictured above
    right in green. Voyager has hand-crank and solar abilities.

  • Keep you cell phone close and get weather alerts. A
    survival radio is important, but the greatest lifeline you may
    have is your cellphone if you set it up properly to get
    advance notice of a tornado. Subscribe to weather alerts,
    such as tornado watches and warnings on your cell phone.

  • Hard hats. Have hard hats ready during tornado watches
    and wear them when you hear the warnings. Stock hard hats
    for every member of your family and guests in the
    designated area (basement or safe room). The hardhat, right
    is affordable at around $7 and with available free shipping.
    This hard hat is the best selling hard hat in the world, and
    with good reason! MSA Hard Hats are lightweight and offer
    superior balance on the head, allowing it to be comfortable,
    all-day wearing it. The unique suspension ensures that the
    hard hat stays in place, even when bending over.

    If you don't have such a hard hat handy, try a hockey
    helmet, a bike helmet, or even a football helmet. Protect
    your noggin!

  • Whistle. Having a whistle in your pocket or around your neck
    may sound like odd advice in preparation for a tornado, but
    immediately following a twister, you and your loved ones
    could be calling from the rubble. A whistle could help
    identify your location when you are too weak to call out. It
    will help you so you can get unburied from the rubble.

  • Ear plugs. Ear plugs are another unusual item to hoard in
    preparation for a tornado. Don't wear them until you hear
    the sirens and heed the warnings. Because of the low
    pressure, tornadoes are a noisy disaster and survivors of a
    tornado often complain about their ears ringing, and popping
    with pain. Essentially the pressure inside your ears becomes
    greater than the pressure outside your body. This pressure
    sucks the eardrums outward causing pain.

  • LED Flashlights and chem light sticks. Traditional advice is
    to store flashlights, since the most deadly tornadoes strike
    at night, but you can also store chem sticks. Without power
    following a tornado a chemical light stick will provide the
    illumination you need. Choose light sticks for any application
    where a dependable battery-free, fire-free light source is

  • Insurance and photos. Occasionally a soggy family picture
    emerges from the rubble or a treasured heirloom, but don't
    expect it. Will your homeowners insurance or renter's policy
    take on a tornado? Most insurance policies cover
    "windstorms," but not for flooding. It's always a good to get
    your insurance in order before the twister devastates you
    financially. Insurers often say the most treasured and
    irreplaceable items are photos.

    With so much technology available, why not spend some
    time gathering family photos at ensuring you
    always have an album to print. Scan images or download
    them from your digital camera to lock them in the servers.

#2: Look for the signs of a Tornado.
Want to know if a tornado is headed your way? Learn how to
read the signs of an impending tornado! For starters, know the
difference between a tornado watch and a tornado warning when
you hear alerts on the radio.

Tornado watch: officials are still watching the area.
The possibility of a tornado exists within the watch area. At this
juncture, you should review your supplies and safe room area,
and stay glued to your radio for more details.

Tornado warning: sighted and the danger is imminent.
Signs that a tornado is imminent include:
  • dark greenish clouds (sometimes referred to as "pea soup"
  • large hail;
  • debris clouds;
  • funnel clouds;
  • roaring noise.

Most tornadoes happen in the afternoon, however tornadoes are
most dangerous by night because there is little or no visibility on
the impending dangers.

Know the signs of a tornado so you can respond quickly and
find shelter:
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