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How to Stay Safe During a Tornado

Updated on May 13, 2011

Tornado safety is an important thing to keep in mind during every month of the year. Although tornado season is generally in the spring and summer, fall and winter tornadoes can and do occur. Several tornadoes struck in January of this year, and they occur in all 50 states all year round. These tornado safety tips can help when there is a threat of tornadic activity.

Plan Ahead for Tornado Safety

Make an evacuation plan if you live in a manufactured home of any type. In a direct hit by even an F-1 tornado, a manufactured home has little chance of offering you adequate protection from the weather. In fact, it may injure you with debris from the roof or walls. Decide on a place to go during a tornado warning before a tornado strikes.

Some manufactured home communities have a designated tornado shelter. If yours doesn’t, walk around the area and look for deep ditches or other sheltered areas that could save you during a tornado. Doing this in advance can mean the difference between finding a safe place in an emergency and not finding one.

Choose a central room in a non-manufactured home. This central room should have no windows, if possible, and it should have no outside walls. This may be a closet, a bathroom or a hallway. This room is where the family should gather during a tornado warning that threatens your immediate area.

Keep Tornado Safety Supplies and Use Them Correctly

Keep tornado safety items close by. Always keep a few flashlights with fresh batteries in them in the house. Also keep a small, battery-operated radio in the home. You may not have time to change batteries if a tornado strikes suddenly, and you will need a radio and flashlights if the power goes out and the tornado is close by. Check the batteries twice a year when you check your smoke detector batteries. 

Outfit a basement with your tornado safety supplies if you have a basement. A basement is the perfect tornado room, and it can be kept ready for severe weather by staying stocked with bottles of water, a radio, flashlights and a phone at all times.

Listen to the TV or radio reports of the tornado as long as you are in danger. A tornado can change direction, speed up or slow down. It's hard to predict exactly where a tornado will travel, so pay attention to the latest updates to stay on top of tornado safety.

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