Learn how to stay safe during a tornado, and how to improve your home’s ability to withstand tornadoes.Learn how to stay safe during a tornado, and how to improve your home’s ability to withstand tornadoes.
A tornado is a tube of spinning air that forms from a thunderstorm and touches the ground. Tornadoes are dangerous. They can knock down buildings, uproot trees, move vehicles and destroy things in their path. Heavy rains, lightning, flash flooding and hail are possible. Tornadoes can happen anywhere. Prepare now so you can stay safe.
Know the difference!
A tornado WATCH means tornadoes are possible in and near your area. Be ready to act fast!
A tornado WARNING means Take Action! A tornado is near. There is danger. Move to safe location right away.
What Should You Do Before a Tornado?
Find Shelter Locations from High Winds in the Places Where You Spend a Lot of Time
Find a safe room built to withstand high winds. The next best protection is a small room with no windows on the lowest level of a sturdy building.
Mobile, manufactured, trailer homes and recreational vehicles (RVs) are not safe in high wind events. Plan ahead by finding a sturdy building to shelter in before a tornado watch or warning.
Practice Tornado Drills
With your entire household, practice moving quickly to the safe locations that you identified.
Create a personal support team of people you may assist and who can assist you.
If you live in a mobile home, practice going to a safe place.
Plan to Stay Connected
Sign up for free emergency alerts from your local government.
Plan to monitor local weather and news.
Have a backup battery or a way to charge your cell phone.
In case of a power outage, have a battery-powered radio.
Know the difference:
Tornado Watch: Be Prepared! Tornadoes are possible in and near the watch area. Be ready to act fast!
Tornado Warning: Take Action! A tornado is near. There is danger. Move to safe location right away.
You may not always receive a tornado warning. Know the signs of a tornado. Take shelter if you feel you are in danger.
Be ready to live without power. Utilities may be offline. Be ready to live without power, gas, and water. Plan for your electrical needs, including cell phones and medical equipment. Talk to your doctor. Plan for backup power.
Keep listening to radio, TV or other news sources. Stay in your shelter until the tornado warning is over.
Do not enter damaged buildings.
If the building you are in has been damaged, exit with extreme care and stay out. Look around for things that might fall or dangerous debris. Do not use matches or lighters inside. If you smell gas or see spills that could be flammable, leave immediately.
If you are trapped, try to cover your mouth with a cloth or mask to avoid breathing dust. Try to send a text, bang on a pipe or wall, or use a whistle instead of shouting.
Watch out for exposed nails and broken glass.
Stay clear of fallen power lines or broken utility lines.
Clean Up Safely
Be careful during clean-up. Wear thick-soled shoes, long pants and work gloves to reduce injuries.
Children should not take part in disaster cleanup work.
If power is out, use flashlights or battery-powered lanterns to reduce fire risk.
Be aware of carbon monoxide poisoning. Do not use gasoline, propane, natural gas or charcoal-burning devices inside a home, basement, garage, tent or camper — or even outside near an open window. Carbon monoxide can’t be seen or smelled, but it can kill you fast. If you start to feel sick, dizzy or weak, get to fresh air right away — do not delay.
People may be injured. Provide first aid as needed.
Do not attempt to move a person with a back or neck injury unless they are in immediate danger. Seek immediate medical assistance.
Take Care of Yourself
It's normal to have a lot of bad feelings, stress, or anxiety.
Eat healthy food and get enough sleep to help you deal with stress.
You can contact the Disaster Distress Helpline for free if you need to talk to someone. Call or text 1-800-985-5990.