It is generally considered common knowledge that being underground is the best bet you can make when a tornado strikes, but what happens when you don’t have a tornado or cellar available, and what do you do once you’re in your safe area? If you live in a tornado prone area, it is very important to know what you should do when you hear a warning siren. Read on for some simple things that you can do to make it much more likely that you will survive if a tornado strikes.
Find The Right Shelter
The best place to be during a tornado is a basement or cellar. If you don’t have a basement, go to an interior room of your home like a bathroom or hallway. Stay away from any windows, and if all you have is a bathroom get in the tub. Try to stay underneath a solid structure, like a staircase or large table. If nothing like this is available, pull a mattress over your head. Falling and flying debris can be a danger during a tornado, so coverage over your head and around you is ideal. Cover yourself with heavy blankets and sleeping bags for added protection.
Never stay in a car or mobile home during a tornado. The wind will make your car a very dangerous place, and mobile homes do not offer the protection of a home with a foundation. If you are caught outdoors in a tornado and can’t find anywhere safe to get inside, try laying in a ditch or other low lying patch of land. The point is getting out of the path of wind and flying debris, so get as low as possible. Cover the back of your head with your arms and keep your face pointed down. Follow any official drill procedures if you are in a public area, since the primary objective will be getting you to the safest place in the area.
What To Have
Once you have decide where the safe area of your house is located, it is important to make sure there are a few necessities available if you and your family are there when a tornado strikes. Always make sure your safe area has a first aid kit and three gallons of water per person available in case part of the area collapses and you get stuck there for awhile. A radio and a charged cell phone are good things to have, as well as a flashlight and batteries for everything that needs them.
What Not To Do
Several myths about tornado safety are wrong and may get you killed if a tornado actually strikes. Never park and hide under an overpass during a tornado. The opening can act as a wind tunnel, making it more dangerous than the surrounding land. Never light any candles in your safe area while you wait for a possible tornado. If the disaster hits your home, your gas lines may rupture and ignite the flame. Don’t waste time opening windows when a tornado is approaching. A tornado will break windows when it hits, and you don’t want to be standing in front of them when it happens.