Before a Tornado


Conduct tornado drills each tornado season.
Designate an area in the home as a shelter, and practice having everyone in the family go there in response to a tornado threat.
Discuss with family members the difference between a "tornado watch" and a "tornado warning."
Contact your local emergency management office or American Red Cross chapter for more information on tornadoes.

Have disaster supplies on hand :

Flashlight and extra batteries

Portable, battery-operated radio and extra batteries

First aid kit and manual

Emergency food and water

Nonelectric can opener

Essential medicines

Cash and credit cards

Sturdy shoes

Develop an emergency communication plan
In case family members are separated from one another during a tornado (a real possibility during the day when adults are at work and children are at school), have a plan for getting back together.
Ask an out-of-state relative or friend to serve as the "family contact." After a disaster, it's often easier to call long distance. Make sure everyone in the family knows the name, address, and phone number of the contact person.
Tornado Watches and Warnings
A tornado watch is issued by the National Weather Service when tornadoes are possible in your area. Remain alert for approaching storms. This is time to remind family members where the safest places within your home are located, and listen to the radio or television for further developments.
A tornado warning is issued when a tornado has been sighted or indicated by weather radar.
Mobile Homes
Mobile homes are particularly vulnerable. A mobile home can overturn very easily even if precautions have been taken to tie down the unit. When a tornado warning is issued, take shelter in a building with a strong foundation.If shelter is not available, lie in ditch or low-lying area a safe distance away from the unit.
Tornado Danger Signs
Learn these tornado danger signs:

An approaching cloud of debris can mark the location of a tornado even if a funnel is not visible.

Before a tornado hits, the wind may die down and the air may become very still.

Tornadoes generally occur near the trailing edge of a thunderstorm. It is not uncommon to see clear, sunlit skies behind a tornado.