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Tornado Safety

A tornado is a tube of spinning air that forms from a thunderstorm and touches the ground. Tornadoes are dangerous. They can knock down buildings, uproot trees, move vehicles and destroy things in their path. Heavy rains, lightning, flash flooding and hail are possible. Tornadoes can happen anywhere. Prepare now so you can stay safe.

Know the difference!

Tornado icon

A tornado WATCH means tornadoes are possible in and near your area. Be ready to act fast!

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A tornado WARNING means Take Action! A tornado is near. There is danger. Move to safe location right away.

What Should You Do Before a Tornado?

Tornado and stormy skies

Find Shelter Locations from High Winds in the Places Where You Spend a Lot of Time

  • Find a safe room built to withstand high winds. The next best protection is a small room with no windows on the lowest level of a sturdy building.
  • Mobile, manufactured, trailer homes and recreational vehicles (RVs) are not safe in high wind events. Plan ahead by finding a sturdy building to shelter in before a tornado watch or warning.

Practice Tornado Drills

  • With your entire household, practice moving quickly to the safe locations that you identified.
  • Create a personal support team of people you may assist and who can assist you.
  • If you live in a mobile home, practice going to a safe place.

Plan to Stay Connected

  • Sign up for free emergency alerts from your local government.
  • Plan to monitor local weather and news.
  • Have a backup battery or a way to charge your cell phone.
  • In case of a power outage, have a battery-powered radio.
  • Know the difference:
    • Tornado Watch: Be Prepared! Tornadoes are possible in and near the watch area. Be ready to act fast!
    • Tornado Warning: Take Action! A tornado is near. There is danger. Move to safe location right away.
  • You may not always receive a tornado warning. Know the signs of a tornado. Take shelter if you feel you are in danger.

Gather Emergency Supplies

  • Gather food, water, and medicine.  Stores and pharmacies might be closed. Organize supplies into a Go-Kit and a Stay-at-Home-Kit:
    • Go-Kit: at least 3 days of supplies that you can carry with you. Include batteries and chargers for your devices (cell phone, CPAP, wheelchair, etc.)
    • Stay-at-Home Kit: at least 2 weeks of supplies. 
  • Have a 1-month supply of medication in a child-proof container, and other needed medical supplies or equipment. 
  • Keep personal, financial, and medical records safe and easy to access (hard copies or securely backed up). Consider keeping a list of your medications and dosages on a small card to carry with you.

Learn Emergency Skills

  • Learn First Aid and CPR to help others. 
  • Be ready to live without power. Utilities may be offline. Be ready to live without power, gas, and water. Plan for your electrical needs, including cell phones and medical equipment. Talk to your doctor. Plan for backup power.