Weather can be unpredictable. You never really know when bad weather can hit, so it’s best to be prepared for whatever comes your way. This guide explains what to do in a tornado the next time one strikes near you or your home. 

Find Somewhere Safe

One of the most important aspects of tornado preparedness is ensuring that you and your family have a safe place to wait out the storm in. Before a storm hits, figure out a space that could best serve as a storm shelter. If you’re at home, the safest spot is an interior area on the lowest level that’s away from windows and outside walls. A safe room, basement, or storm cellar is also a good option. If you’re in a mobile or manufactured structure, find an alternative location that can serve as a storm shelter.

Manufactured, modular, and mobile homes are not safe during tornadoes or storms with severe winds. If you’re outside, drive to the closest shelter. If that’s not an option, buckle your seatbelt and find somewhere to park your car. Avoid parking under a bridge or overpass, and find somewhere low and flat that isn’t prone to flooding.

Monitor the Situation

Remain alert throughout the storm, and listen to the radio to stay informed. An emergency weather radio will keep you updated on what’s happening with the weather, but be sure to monitor local news as well. After the storm, local news outlets will know about traffic, damage, and other important information specific to your area.  

Handling Kids and Pets

When dealing with your two-legged and four-legged children, tornado preparation is key. If it’s that time of year, put together supplies you’ll need to keep the kids distracted during the storm. If your kids are old enough, talk to them about tornadoes, as the experience is likely to be stressful for them. Let them know what the plan is and what they should do in the event of a tornado. While waiting out the storm, keep them occupied and distracted with games or toys. Bring your pets inside, make sure they have their tags on, and have a few of their favorite things ready to keep them happy. After the weather passes, keep your pets leashed when taking them outside until you have a chance to clean up debris and they have a chance to become acclimated to the changed environment.

Safety Tips

fallen tree on fence tornado wreckageFirst of all, use a flashlight if the power goes out. Storm damage may cause gas leaks, so it’s best to avoid carrying around an open flame. If you smell gas, turn off the gas at your home, and call your utility company. Similarly, if you see any issues with powerlines or your electricity, turn it off and call the electric company. When dealing with debris and disaster recovery efforts, wear sturdy shoes, long sleeves, and gloves to protect yourself. If you’re dealing with small amounts of broken glass, there are a few ways to handle the situation with ease. A halved potato, slice of bread, tape, and damp paper towel can be used to pick up broken glass without endangering hands. Remember to stay updated with the local news; if there was a lot of rain or flooding, you may encounter flooded or washed out roads.

Use this information to prepare a plan for your family this tornado season, and learn more about what to do after a storm.