Anyone watching the news these days has seen the sad stories of tornadoes ripping through the country. For safety’s sake, it pays to plan ahead to keep your family safe during a tornado.
Tornados are Quite Deadly
First of all, these mighty storms can appear at any time of the year. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), , there were 1,174 tornadoes in the United States between January 1 and November 25, 2021. This is compared to 1,075 in the same period in 2020. Not counting these latest storms, there were 14 deaths this year across multiple states.
Starting with Water Safety
Since we are primarily focused on water safety, let’s tackle this aspect of a tornado first. Believe it or not, it is quite possible for a person who is caught outside, whether on the ground or on a boat, to be picked up by these powerful storms. There are actually quite a number of ways in which water can become a major hazard during this type of storm. Let’s take a look at some of them here:
Beyond all the dangerous debris that will be caught in the wind, if a person is dropped into a body of water, there is a risk of drowning danger. Additionally, flooding is a frequent water hazard during tornados.
While trying to keep safe during a tornado, people have become trapped in the basement or storm shelter that rapidly floods. Without an escape route and proper planning, getting trapped in these areas can quickly become deadly.
Finally, tornados can often knock down power lines. Additionally, bulbs can be broken and wiring can become loose. If these sources of electric current dip into the water, it creates a risk of electrocution. Aside from all of these concerns, tornados often bring lightning.
It is imperative to remain in shelter and far away from water during any type of storm. For more information, read our dedicated blog to learn more about the dangers of electrocution during a lightning storm.
Preparation and Planning to Keep Your Family Safe During a Tornado
When the time comes to keep your family safe during a tornado, it pays to be prepared. To start, adults should develop a family disaster plan. The best time to do this is well before it is ever needed. A solid safety plan should be committed to memory to the point that it is second nature to every member of the home. That goes for young children as well as adults.
Sometimes a tornado can strike without warning. In these cases, it pays to know the features of an approaching tornado. These may include a spinning funnel-shaped cloud, dark skies and an extremely loud roar of wind. To learn more about identifying tornadoes, visit the official CDC page on the topic.
For a tornado, there are some specific guidelines to follow:
Avoid windows at all costs.
The harsh winds can often shatter your windows, sending glass everywhere.
Shelter can be your best friend during a tornado. The high winds can bring flying debris and falling heavy objects. You’ll want some sturdy walls to protect you and your loved ones from harm. The lowest area of the building, such as the basement, is usually the safest spot. But as we learned earlier, make sure you have an exit. Sudden floods can add danger.
Buildings Are Best
Being caught in a mobile home or a car during a tornado can be deadly. As heavy as these structures may seem, they can still be picked up or flipped over. Instead, get to a nearby building as quickly as possible.
You Can’t Outrun a Tornado
Never try to outrun a tornado, either on foot or in a vehicle. These storms can move a lot faster than many of us realize. It is not worth the risk. To keep you and your family safe during a tornado, seek the closest shelter.
Additionally, if you absolutely cannot find shelter, either hunker down in your vehicle or find an outdoor area as low to the ground as possible. Look for a ravine or ditch. There, cover your head and neck. With this, try to avoid bridges and highway overpasses. These can collapse or leave you exposed.
Good luck and remember that planning and preparation can help to save lives.