Copyright © 2015 Crawford County EMA.  All Rights Reserved

Tornado Safety

There is no such thing as guaranteed safety inside a tornado. Freak accidents happen; and the most violent tornadoes can level and blow away almost any house and its occupants. Extremely violent F5 tornadoes are very rare, though. Most tornadoes are actually much weaker and can be survived using these safety ideas... Prevention and practice before the storm: At home, have a family tornado plan in place, based on the kind of dwelling you live in and the safety tips below. Know where you can take shelter in a matter of seconds, and practice a family tornado drill at least once a year. Have a pre-determined place to meet after a disaster. Flying debris is the greatest danger in tornadoes; so store protective coverings (e.g., mattress, sleeping bags, thick blankets, etc) in or next to your shelter space, ready to use on a few seconds' notice. When a tornado watch is issued, think about the drill and check to make sure all your safety supplies are handy. Turn on local TV, radio or NOAA Weather Radio and stay alert for warnings. Forget about the old notion of opening windows to equalize pressure; the tornado will blast open the windows for you! If you shop frequently at certain stores, learn where there are bathrooms, storage rooms or other interior shelter areas away from windows, and the shortest ways to get there. Know the signs of a tornado: Weather forecasting science is not perfect and some tornadoes do occur without a tornado warning. There is no substitute for staying alert to the sky. Besides an obviously visible tornado, here are some things to look and listen for: 1. Strong, persistent rotation in the cloud base. 2. Whirling dust or debris on the ground under a cloud base -- tornadoes sometimes have no funnel! 3. Hail or heavy rain followed by either dead calm or a fast, intense wind shift. Many tornadoes are wrapped in heavy precipitation and can't be seen. 4. Day or night - Loud, continuous roar or rumble, which doesn't fade in a few seconds like thunder. 5. Night - Small, bright, blue-green to white flashes at ground level near a thunderstorm (as opposed to silvery lightning up in the clouds). These mean power lines are being snapped by very strong wind, maybe a tornado. 6. Night - Persistent lowering from the cloud base, illuminated or silhouetted by lightning - - especially if it is on the ground or there is a blue-green-white power flash underneath. WHAT TO DO... In a house with a basement: Avoid windows. Get in the basement and under some kind of sturdy protection (heavy table or work bench), or cover yourself with a mattress or sleeping bag. Know where very heavy objects rest on the floor above (pianos, refrigerators, waterbeds, etc.) and do not go under them. They may fall down through a weakened floor and crush you.In a house with no basement, a dorm, or an apartment: Avoid windows. Go to the lowest floor, small center room (like a bathroom or closet), under a stairwell, or in an interior hallway with no windows. Crouch as low as possible to the floor, facing down; and cover your head with your hands. A bath tub may offer a shell of partial protection. Even in an interior room, you should cover yourself with some sort of thick padding (mattress, blankets, etc.), to protect against falling debris in case the roof and ceiling fail. In an office building, hospital, nursing home or skyscraper: Go directly to an enclosed, windowless area in the center of the building -- away from glass. Then, crouch down and cover your head. Interior stairwells are usually good places to take shelter, and if not crowded, allow you to get to a lower level quickly. Stay off the elevators; you could  be trapped in them if the power is lost. In a mobile home: Get out! Even if your home is tied down, you are probably safer  outside, even if the only alternative is to seek shelter out in the open. Most tornadoes  can destroy even tied-down mobile homes; and it is best not to play the low odds that  yours will make it. If your community has a tornado shelter, go there fast. If there is a  sturdy permanent building within easy running distance, seek shelter there. Otherwise,  lie flat on low ground away from your home, protecting your head. If possible, use open  ground away from trees and cars, which can be blown onto you. At school: Follow the drill! Go to the interior hall or room in an orderly way as you are  told. Crouch low, head down, and protect the back of your head with your arms. Stay  away from windows and large open rooms like gyms and auditoriums. In a car or truck: Vehicles are extremely dangerous in a tornado. If the tornado is  visible, far away, and the traffic is light, you may be able to drive out of its path by  moving at right angles to the tornado. Otherwise, park the car as quickly and safely as  possible -- out of the traffic lanes. [It is safer to get the car out of mud later if necessary  than to cause a crash.] Get out and seek shelter in a sturdy building. If in the open  country, run to low ground away from any cars (which may roll over on you). Lie flat  and face-down, protecting the back of your head with your arms. Avoid seeking shelter  under bridges, which can create deadly traffic hazards while offering little protection  against flying debris. In the open outdoors: If possible, seek shelter in a sturdy building. If not, lie flat and  face- down on low ground, protecting the back of your head with your arms. Get as far  away from trees and cars as you can; they may be blown onto you in a tornado. In a shopping mall or large store: Do not panic. Watch for others. Move as quickly as  possible to an interior bathroom, storage room or other small enclosed area, away from  windows. In a church or theater: Do not panic. If possible, move quickly but orderly to an interior  bathroom or hallway, away from windows. Crouch face-down and protect your head  with your arms. If there is no time to do that, get under the seats or pews, protecting  your head with your arms or hands. AFTER THE TORNADO... Keep your family together and wait for emergency personnel to arrive. Carefully render  aid to those who are injured. Stay away from power lines and puddles with wires in  them; they may still be carrying electricity! Watch your step to avoid broken glass,  nails, and other sharp objects. Stay out of any heavily damaged houses or buildings;  they could collapse at any time. Do not use matches or lighters, in case of leaking  natural gas pipes or fuel tanks nearby. Remain calm and alert, and listen for  information and instructions from emergency crews or local officials. Information from Roger Edwards at Storm Prediction Center in Norman, OK To Top
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Copyright © 2015 Crawford County EMA.  All Rights Reserved

Tornado Safety

There is no such thing as guaranteed safety inside a tornado. Freak accidents happen; and the most violent tornadoes can level and blow away almost any house and its occupants. Extremely violent F5 tornadoes are very rare, though. Most tornadoes are actually much weaker and can be survived using these safety ideas... Prevention and practice before the storm: At home, have a family tornado plan in place, based on the kind of dwelling you live in and the safety tips below. Know where you can take shelter in a matter of seconds, and practice a family tornado drill at least once a year. Have a pre-determined place to meet after a disaster. Flying debris is the greatest danger in tornadoes; so store protective coverings (e.g., mattress, sleeping bags, thick blankets, etc) in or next to your shelter space, ready to use on a few seconds' notice. When a tornado watch is issued, think about the drill and check to make sure all your safety supplies are handy. Turn on local TV, radio or NOAA Weather Radio and stay alert for warnings. Forget about the old notion of opening windows to equalize pressure; the tornado will blast open the windows for you! If you shop frequently at certain stores, learn where there are bathrooms, storage rooms or other interior shelter areas away from windows, and the shortest ways to get there. Know the signs of a tornado: Weather forecasting science is not perfect and some tornadoes do occur without a tornado warning. There is no substitute for staying alert to the sky. Besides an obviously visible tornado, here are some things to look and listen for: 1. Strong, persistent rotation in the cloud base. 2. Whirling dust or debris on the ground under a cloud base -- tornadoes sometimes have no funnel! 3. Hail or heavy rain followed by either dead calm or a fast, intense wind shift. Many tornadoes are wrapped in heavy precipitation and can't be seen. 4. Day or night - Loud, continuous roar or rumble, which doesn't fade in a few seconds like thunder. 5. Night - Small, bright, blue-green to white flashes at ground level near a thunderstorm (as opposed to silvery lightning up in the clouds). These mean power lines are being snapped by very strong wind, maybe a tornado. 6. Night - Persistent lowering from the cloud base, illuminated or silhouetted by lightning -- especially if it is on the ground or there is a blue-green-white power flash underneath. WHAT TO DO... In a house with a basement: Avoid windows. Get in the basement and under some kind of sturdy protection (heavy table or work bench), or cover yourself with a mattress or sleeping bag. Know where very heavy objects rest on the floor above (pianos, refrigerators, waterbeds, etc.) and do not go under them. They may fall down through a weakened floor and crush you.In a house with no basement, a dorm, or an apartment: Avoid windows. Go to the lowest floor, small center room (like a bathroom or closet), under a stairwell, or in an interior hallway with no windows. Crouch as low as possible to the floor, facing down; and cover your head with your hands. A bath tub may offer a shell of partial protection. Even in an interior room, you should cover yourself with some sort of thick padding (mattress, blankets, etc.), to protect against falling debris in case the roof and ceiling fail. In an office building, hospital, nursing home or skyscraper: Go directly to an enclosed, windowless area in the center of the building -- away from glass. Then, crouch down and cover your head. Interior stairwells are usually good places to take shelter, and if not crowded, allow you to get to a lower level quickly. Stay off the elevators; you could  be trapped in them if the power is lost. In a mobile home: Get out! Even if your home is tied down, you are probably safer  outside, even if the only alternative is to seek shelter out in the open. Most tornadoes  can destroy even tied-down mobile homes; and it is best not to play the low odds that  yours will make it. If your community has a tornado shelter, go there fast. If there is a  sturdy permanent building within easy running distance, seek shelter there. Otherwise,  lie flat on low ground away from your home, protecting your head. If possible, use open  ground away from trees and cars, which can be blown onto you. At school: Follow the drill! Go to the interior hall or room in an orderly way as you are  told. Crouch low, head down, and protect the back of your head with your arms. Stay  away from windows and large open rooms like gyms and auditoriums. In a car or truck: Vehicles are extremely dangerous in a tornado. If the tornado is  visible, far away, and the traffic is light, you may be able to drive out of its path by  moving at right angles to the tornado. Otherwise, park the car as quickly and safely as  possible -- out of the traffic lanes. [It is safer to get the car out of mud later if necessary  than to cause a crash.] Get out and seek shelter in a sturdy building. If in the open  country, run to low ground away from any cars (which may roll over on you). Lie flat  and face-down, protecting the back of your head with your arms. Avoid seeking shelter  under bridges, which can create deadly traffic hazards while offering little protection  against flying debris. In the open outdoors: If possible, seek shelter in a sturdy building. If not, lie flat and  face- down on low ground, protecting the back of your head with your arms. Get as far  away from trees and cars as you can; they may be blown onto you in a tornado. In a shopping mall or large store: Do not panic. Watch for others. Move as quickly as  possible to an interior bathroom, storage room or other small enclosed area, away from  windows. In a church or theater: Do not panic. If possible, move quickly but orderly to an interior  bathroom or hallway, away from windows. Crouch face-down and protect your head  with your arms. If there is no time to do that, get under the seats or pews, protecting  your head with your arms or hands. AFTER THE TORNADO... Keep your family together and wait for emergency personnel to arrive. Carefully render  aid to those who are injured. Stay away from power lines and puddles with wires in  them; they may still be carrying electricity! Watch your step to avoid broken glass,  nails, and other sharp objects. Stay out of any heavily damaged houses or buildings;  they could collapse at any time. Do not use matches or lighters, in case of leaking  natural gas pipes or fuel tanks nearby. Remain calm and alert, and listen for  information and instructions from emergency crews or local officials. Information from Roger Edwards at Storm Prediction Center in Norman, OK To Top
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