Seeing a violent rotating vortex reaching down from the clouds to the ground is a life changing experience. The sound a tornado makes is known by everyone living in the Midwest and this deadly weather event can change lives in minutes. The following tornado survival tips are a common law in the Midwestern states, but people all across the U.S. should acknowledge them.
Tornadoes are known to occur all across the country and those who have experienced them are all too familiar with the destruction they bring. The following tornado survival tips can save lives if implemented correctly.
Tornado survival tips you should know:
Maintain a storm shelter
If you live in regions prone to tornadoes such as Tornado Alley, a storm shelter becomes a must. While going with a dedicated structure, designed to withstand even the most destructive tornadoes is recommended, not everyone has the budget for such shelter. For most people, a basement or a cellar connected to the house will suffice. If none of those options are available, you should know the location of the nearest shelter and go to it.
Assemble a tornado survival kit
You don’t necessary need to build another survival bag to prepare for a tornado. If you are preparedness like-minded, chances are you already have a bug out bag or get home bag and even a car emergency kit. Rather than spending money on making another survival kit, try to customize your bug out bag to contain all the items you need for tornado survival. Make sure your bag contains a good flashlight, a weather radio, batteries, medicine and first aid supplies and dry clothes.
Have a tornado survival plan
This means that you should have tornado drills for both protecting your home and evacuating to safety. Most schools in the Midwest have tornado drills that are good starting point on which you can expand. These are important lessons for all family members and especially for children since for them a tornado can be a frightening experience. Keep in mind that you should evacuate only if your storm shelter doesn’t provide enough protection.
Related reading: The Eight Principles of Emergency Evacuation
Develop a safety network of contacts
You should keep a list with important contacts that can provide you with help and support. If a tornado hits your area you should be able to get in touch with family and friends. They can provide you with temporary shelter, moral support and manpower to rebuild.
Know the warning signs
When a thunderstorm begins to develop, you should listen to the radio and watch the weather channel. Learn to read the early forming signs even though tornado forming is not an exact science. Those living in the Midwest say that a characteristic of tornado forming is pale green sky. If associated with stillness in the air, chances are a tornado is forming. Make sure you also watch for large hail and low flying clouds. These are all common signs of a forming tornado.
Protect yourself from flying debris
This may sound silly for some, but even the smallest debris can become airborne and turn into deadly projectiles during high winds. Wood, bricks and glass can do some serious damage if you are caught outside. As a general rule of tornado survival, some officials advise to wear helmets when being caught outside. Even a motorcycle or a football helmet will help to protect your head.
Stay inside your shelter when a tornado hits the ground
Tornado survival is all about common sense and being cautious. If a tornado is bound to hit your region and you hear the sirens, you have no business being outside taking pictures. Your lawn furniture and any other items can wait until an all clear has been sounded. It’s not worth losing your life over some stuff you could always replace. Not to mention that when the weather is bad enough, multiple tornadoes can appear. You are exposed to danger more than you think and you should find cover ASAP.
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Pay attention when exiting your shelter
Once the tornado moves away from your area, you should wait before getting outside. If you have to get out, do so slowly since flying debris can still land in your area. Even more, most people get injured by fallen power lines or due to gas explosions. Tornadoes can rip gas lines apart and whole areas can be filled with natural gas or propane. You should resist the urge to smoke until you are sure there are no gas leaks.
Turn off the utilities before the tornado hits
This is one of the basics of tornado survival rules, but strangely enough people forget to turn off their utilities before the tornado strikes. They do so right after the tornado hits them and that’s just poor judgment. Fire and explosion dangers following a tornado are a real threat. Having a portable gas detector in your toolkit can help you spot gas leaks more easily.
Check the integrity of your home
This is another problem that many have to face after a tornado hits. The main problem is the structural damage to buildings can seem minor to the untrained eye. This is the reason why many people get injured when entering damaged buildings. As part of your tornado survival tips, make sure to check the roofs and chimneys of your home. These structures are particularly susceptible to damage when a tornado hits.
Provide help to neighbors
Some of them may require medical aid while others may need some moral support to avoid a panic attack. Even a few words of encouragement can help when people are down on their luck. If you have to provide first aid, do not move severely injured people unless it’s absolutely necessary. If the situation is grim, notify emergency services and get professional help as fast as possible.
Mark your homes
This is an important tornado survival rule and it will greatly help rescue workers. It may seem unnecessary at first, but every landmark and street sign associated to your neighborhood may be gone. Rescue workers will have a hard time finding a particular location and help can be delayed. By marking your home with spray paint, you can provide useful reference to emergency services.
Monitor emergency radio
Once the tornado is gone, that doesn’t necessary mean that the danger is over. You should inform yourself on rescue efforts and weather conditions. You will get useful information about damage and flooding in your area. The more information you can get, the better you will be able to prepare for the next stage of the disaster or even start to rebuild.
A final word
Since the United States has the highest incidence of tornado in the world, it’s better to learn what you should expect when a tornado hits your area. These tornado survival tips are mandatory if you live in a tornado prone area. The more information you can acquire on the subject the better you will get at preparing for such violent weather events. The month of May is coming and this is the most active time of the year for tornadoes in the Midwestern and Plains states. It will soon be followed by the northern states where the tornado season peaks in June and July. Make sure to share these tornado survival tips with the people you love and keep them safe.
Other Useful Resources:
Sold Out After Crisis (Best 37 Items To Hoard For A Long Term Crisis)
Blackout USA (Video about EMP survival and preparedness guide)
The LOST WAYS (The vital self-sufficiency lessons our great grand-fathers left us)
The Stockpiling Lesson (How to make a one year stockpile of food and other survival items)
Food For Freedom (The easiest solution to produce food during a water crisis)
The Quickest Prepping Plan (Get Prepped in one trip to WALMART)
US Water Revolution (A DIY Project to Generate Clean Water Anywhere)
Family Self Defense (Watch this and Learn how to Keep Your Family Safe)
Alive after the crisis (The Most Comprehensive Disaster Survival Course)