Before a tornado
Know the terms used to describe
Tornado watch -- Tornadoes
are possible. Watch the sky and listen to the radio or television
for more information. Be prepared to take shelter. If you see any
rotating funnel-shaped clouds, report them immediately by telephone
to your local law enforcement agency. If you live in a mobile home,
this is the time to move to a more substantial structure.
Tornado warning -- A tornado has been sighted
or indicated by weather radar. Take shelter. Turn on a
battery-operated radio or television and wait for the "all clear"
announcement by authorities.
Refer to the "Before" section under
"Thunderstorms" plus the
Determine the best
location in your home and office to seek shelter when threatened by
a tornado. A basement or cellar will usually afford the best
protection. If an underground shelter is not available, identify an
interior room or hallway on the lowest level.
Conduct periodic tornado
safety drills with your family.
Learn how to shut off the
utilities to your home.
Decide how and where your
family will reunite.
If you live in a mobile
home, identify a safe shelter outside of your mobile home such as a
community park shelter, a neighbor or friend's house, or a nearby
In a mobile home, consider
installation of an underground shelter that is large enough to
accommodate you, your family or several other nearby mobile home
Consider retrofitting your
house with special fasteners, connectors and reinforcing bands to
strengthen the structural integrity. Also, consider installing a
reinforced concrete and steel “safe room” as a small room within
your house, or excavated and installed beneath your garage floor.
following actions when a tornado warning has been issued by the
National Weather Service, when sirens have been activated or when a
tornado has been sighted near your area.
Go at once
to your predetermined shelter (storm cellar, basement or the lowest
level of the building). In a basement, go under the stairs, under a
heavy piece of furniture or a work bench. Stay there until the
danger has passed.
is no basement, go to an inner hallway or a small inner room without
windows, such as a bathroom or closet.
from windows, doors and outside walls.
Go to the
center of the room. Outside windows and walls may be penetrated by
high-speed, wind-borne missiles.
a piece of sturdy furniture, such as a workbench or heavy table, and
hold onto it.
pillows, mattresses or cushions to protect your head and neck.
If in a
mobile home, get out and seek shelter elsewhere. A mobile home can
overturn very easily even if precautions have been taken to tie down
the unit. If there isn't a substantial shelter nearby, seek shelter
in a low-lying area. Shield your head with your hands.
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school, nursing home, hospital, shopping center or at work
Go to the
designated storm shelter, basement, or to an inside hallway on the
places with wide-span roofs, such as auditoriums, cafeterias,
gymnasiums and large hallways. Stay away from windows and open
a piece of sturdy furniture, such as a workbench or heavy table or
desk, and hold onto it. If sturdy furniture is not available, make
yourself the smallest target possible. Squat low to the ground. Put
your head down and cover your head and neck with your hands.
If in a
high-rise building, go to small, interior rooms or hallways on the
lowest level possible and seek protection as detailed above. Stay
away from windows and outside walls.
If possible, get inside a substantial
If shelter is not available or there is
no time to get indoors, lie in a ditch, culvert or low-lying area or
crouch near a strong building. Use arms to protect head and
neck. Stay aware of the potential for flash flooding.
to outrun a tornado in a vehicle. Heavy rain, hail and traffic may
impede your movement. Tornadoes can change directions quickly and
can easily lift up a vehicle and toss it through the air.
Get out of
the vehicle immediately and try to take shelter in a nearby
building. Do NOT park under a bridge or underpass.
isn't time to get indoors, get out of the vehicle and lie in a
ditch, culvert or low-lying area away from the vehicle.
the radio or television for emergency information or instructions.
injured victims. Render first aid if necessary.
neighbors or relatives who may require special assistance.
attempt to move severely injured victims unless absolutely
necessary. Wait for emergency medical assistance to arrive.
telephone only for emergency calls.
damaged buildings. Re-enter only if absolutely necessary, using
photos of or videotape the damage to your home or property.
driving, be alert for hazards on the roadway.
unaffected by the tornado, stay out of the damaged area until
allowed to enter by officials. Your presence may hamper emergency
[From booklet prepared by the
Service, Illinois Emergency Management Agency and