How To Survive Tornado
Tornadoes are dramatic, unpredictable and plain nasty so if you have a strange idea you can ride one out safely just by carrying on as normal, think again. Not only do they spring up with little notice but they move fast and can power through almost anything that gets in their way. It’s just not worth taking chances against this monster from mother nature. You are not going to win. The best you can hope for is that you and your nearest and dearest come out of the event safe and well. With a little preparation and sensible precautions, you may not have all your possessions after a tornado but at least you’ll get to see another day.
1. Tornado Emergency Kit
If you are expecting a tornado in your state or city or if your geographical location is vulnerable to these natural occurrences then you need to keep a tornado emergency kit prepped and ready. To be effective your emergency kit must be equipped with the essentials – water, shelter, and food. Apart from these basics, your emergency kit should have rain gear, energy-boosting snacks, a portable power supply like portable generators, communication devices, sleeping bags, and a stocked first aid kit so that you can easily survive outside in a tent.
It’s hard to get steady electric supply during a tornado and back up energy reservoirs are limited and must be consumed for necessities so only take minimal electrical appliances and tools with you. Instead, stick with manual ones. Also, don’t bother carrying any fragile or unpreserved food items since they will quickly rot.
2. Devise Plans For Communication
Communication is the most difficult thing to manage during and after natural calamities. Nobody knows where and how to connect with other family members if are not together. Even calling relatives for help is not easy. So, it is a good idea to devise a communication plan in advance. This could be as simple as meeting at a prearranged point after the tornado.
It is often easier to make long distance calls during a disaster than calling intercity or interstate devices due to network damage. So, you can also be useful to keep a far off relative in the loop who can serve as a family connecting agent.
3. Staying Safe At The Workplace
If you are at work or school during a tornado then head for the basement for shelter. It’s sensible to avoid open places and rooftops during the threat and usually, places with wider roofs and hallways are more vulnerable. While inside, try to take refuge under a sturdy surface such as tables and desks. Concentrate on protecting your head and neck with your arms since these are the most vulnerable body parts.
4. Staying Safe At Home
If you are inside your home when a tornado strikes then take shelter in the innermost part of your house. Avoid sitting or standing near windows and the corners of the rooms. Bathrooms, closets, basements or backyard bunkers are ideal places to seek refuge. However, if you have a mobile home then your safest option is to evacuate and look for a sturdy shelter. Wherever you are during a disaster, be extra cautious about protecting your head and neck and prefer them over other body parts when it comes to safety and protection.
5. Staying Safe Outside
If you are out in the open air when a tornado strikes your best shelter are sturdy structures like buildings, covered parking lots and underground places. Try to seek shelter quickly under the nearest sturdy and solid roof to protect yourself from the catastrophic impacts of a tornado.
If you are unable to find any shelter and have no option other than to stay in the open air then stay away from the trees and other fragile structures. Lay down flat away from cars and other mobile objects and protect your head with your arms until the tornado passes.
In case, you are inside your car or any other vehicle and getting out of it is not an option then park your car away from traffic and crowds. Afterward, fasten your seat belts and lower your head below the line of the windows. For added safety, if you can cover your head with cushions, picnic blankets or any similar items. If you don’t have anything, not even a sweater, then cover your head with your arms.
Trim Trees And Shrubbery
If your geographical location is vulnerable to tornadoes than you need to consider protecting your house and neighborhood. Prepare well by trimming trees and shrubbery to remove fragile branches on a regular basis.
If you are expecting a major loss then make an inventory with photos of your assets and keep it and any purchase receipts in a secure location. This inventory will assist you with your insurance claim later.
Get Yourself Registered
Always get yourself registered with local emergency departments whenever you move area especially if you are differently abled and will need additional help. This will alert the department to your special needs in case of an emergency.
If you don’t have sturdy shelter and your region is in the warning zone than always seek help in well in advance of tornado season to be prepared.
Choose Your Direction Wisely
If you are driving and a tornado hits you could be in real trouble. A timely wise decision can save you though. Stay calm and observe the movement of the tornado and move in the opposite direction with maximum speed. If the tornado swings left you head towards right although if the tornado is coming straight at you have limited options.
Check Weather Forecast
The best way to stay safe in a tornado is to stay up-to-date with the weather forecast. Check the weather updates regularly during tornado season so you get an advanced warning in case of an emergency. This could be the difference between having sufficient time to seek shelter or not.
Tornado Survival Myths
Often people assume underpasses are good shelter options but that is not true. They have wide openings and instead of avoiding tornados, this intensifies the speed of the wind.
It’s a popular myth that windows and doors should be open during a tornado to reduce structural damage. It is assumed that opening windows equalizes the inner and outer air pressure but this is not the case. Opening the windows during a tornado will only increase the damage.
Some people also assume a particular corner is safest from a tornado but tornadoes can hit any corner. It is never advised to take refuge in corners during a tornado since this increases the chances of being hit by debris.
A tornado in full swing is a force of nature nobody wants to mess with. It’s foolish to think you can deal with it or its aftermath when or if it happens. But if you have no plan of escape, no stock of survival gear or emergency supplies at the very least give yourself a fighting chance by hitting the floor and protecting your head. Once you’ve been through one screaming tornado you’ll understand why it’s so important to not underestimate the absolute devastation it can deliver and next time, if you got lucky with this one, you’re certain to be better prepared.