Tornadoes strike with little or no warning. Each family should develop a tornado plan and designate a safety shelter. Practice the plan you and your family developed.

How to Prepare for Tornadoes

Know the meaning of terms used to describe tornado threats:

  • Tornado Watch: tornadoes are possible
  • Tornado Warning: take shelter, tornado sighted
  • Severe Thunderstorm Watch: severe thunderstorms are possible
  • Severe Thunderstorm Warning: severe thunderstorms are occurring
  • Purchase a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) weather radio, a battery-powered commercial radio and extra batteries for each
  • Have emergency supplies on hand
  • Inventory your possessions
  • Keep important papers in a safe deposit box

Tornado shelters should be stocked with the following supplies:

  • Battery operated radio with weather band
  • Cash and credit cards
  • Emergency food and water
  • Essential medications
  • First-aid kit
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • Manual can opener
  • Sturdy shoes

What to Do During a Tornado

  • When a tornado is sighted, go to your shelter immediately, stay away from windows, door, outside walls
  • In a house or small building, go to the basement or an interior room on the lowest level
  • In a school, nursing home, hospital, factory or shopping center; go to predesignated shelter area or interior halls on the lowest level
  • In a high-rise building, go to a small interior room or hallway on lowest floor possible
  • Get under a sturdy piece of furniture, a table or desk
  • Use your arms to protect head and neck. In a mobile home, trailer, or vehicle, get out immediately and go to a substantial structure
  • A ditch, ravine, or culvert could be used if no structure is available. Do not attempt to out-drive a tornado

What to Do After a Tornado

  • Be aware of broken glass and downed power lines
  • Check for injuries; move seriously injured persons only if in immediate danger or life is threatened
  • Use caution entering a damaged building