Tornadoes – Read This

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Tornadoes can have devastating effects on infrastructure, vehicles and community safety, with wind speeds up to 250 mph. Given their unpredictable nature, how can you keep your family safe if a tornado develops in your area?

Know the Signs – Tornadoes often (but not always) develop during thunderstorms, with the bulk of them occurring during springtime. During bouts of bad weather, pay close attention to the news via television or weather radio to listen for a:

  • Tornado watch: The conditions are favorable for a tornado to develop in the watch area.
  • Tornado warning: A tornado has been spotted by a person or by radar in the warning area.

Even with forecasting technology, tornados can occur suddenly (and sometimes there is no visible funnel) so it’s important to familiarize yourself with the signs to watch for. Prepare to take cover if you notice any of the following in the sky:

  • A persistently rotating cloud base
  • Heavy rain or hail followed by a sudden calm
  • Spinning dust or debris on the ground below a cloud base
  • A loud, steady rumble that lasts much longer than the sound of thunder
  • Bright flashes at ground level during a storm, which could indicate power lines being snapped by strong winds

Take Action – Plan for disaster in advance with your family so you know where to go and what supplies you may need. Acting in a matter of seconds could very well save your lives if a tornado touches down nearby. Remember, flying debris is the biggest danger during a tornado so your plan should include blankets or other materials you can use to cover yourselves. Here are some general tips for what to do in various locations if a tornado strikes:

  • Inside a house: If your home has a basement, take cover down there away from heavy objects overhead (washing machine, piano etc.) that may fall through a weakened floor. Whether you have a basement of not, avoid windows or rooms with heavy objects that can be thrown. Go to the lowest floor close to the center of the house; a bathroom or closet is ideal. Crouch face down and cover your head with your hands, a mattress, a blanket or anything else that can shield you from broken glass and other debris. Keep your pets nearby on a leash or in a crate.
  • Inside a mobile home: Mobile homes are among the most dangerous places you can be during a tornado, even if it’s tied down. Get to a permanent structure if possible. If not, find a ditch or depressed area, away from trees, cars and any other objects that could fall on you, and lie flat in it with your hands over your head.
  • Inside a public building: Go to the lowest floor possible, away from windows and close to the center of the building. Stairwells are ideal for traveling down and taking cover. Do not use elevators, which can trap you if power is lost. Once you reach a safe location, crouch with your hands over your head.
  • Inside a vehicle: Vehicles, like mobile homes, are very dangerous places to be. Park away from traffic and find shelter in a nearby building. If that’s not possible, lie face down in a ditch or depressed area with your hands over your head, far away from your car (which can roll). Do not seek shelter under a bridge because wind speeds can increase there.
  • Outdoors: If you’re outdoors when a tornado hits, find shelter or lie face down as you would if you were in a vehicle or mobile home.

The Aftermath – Keep your family together whenever possible and administer first aid to anyone in the area who may need your assistance until emergency services arrive. Watch your step because broken glass and other sharp debris can injure you as you move around. Avoid power lines and standing water, which may be electrically charged if nearby power lines are downed.

Do not enter buildings that have been significantly damaged because they could collapse at any time. The best thing to do is stay in one place (if possible) and wait for instructions from emergency crews and/or city officials.

Tornadoes can have devastating effects on infrastructure, vehicles and community safety, with wind speeds up to 250 mph. Given their unpredictable nature, how can you keep your family safe if a tornado develops in your area?

Know the Signs – Tornadoes often (but not always) develop during thunderstorms, with the bulk of them occurring during springtime. During bouts of bad weather, pay close attention to the news via television or weather radio to listen for a:

  • Tornado watch: The conditions are favorable for a tornado to develop in the watch area.
  • Tornado warning: A tornado has been spotted by a person or by radar in the warning area.

Even with forecasting technology, tornados can occur suddenly (and sometimes there is no visible funnel) so it’s important to familiarize yourself with the signs to watch for. Prepare to take cover if you notice any of the following in the sky:

  • A persistently rotating cloud base
  • Heavy rain or hail followed by a sudden calm
  • Spinning dust or debris on the ground below a cloud base
  • A loud, steady rumble that lasts much longer than the sound of thunder
  • Bright flashes at ground level during a storm, which could indicate power lines being snapped by strong winds

Take Action – Plan for disaster in advance with your family so you know where to go and what supplies you may need. Acting in a matter of seconds could very well save your lives if a tornado touches down nearby. Remember, flying debris is the biggest danger during a tornado so your plan should include blankets or other materials you can use to cover yourselves. Here are some general tips for what to do in various locations if a tornado strikes:

  • Inside a house: If your home has a basement, take cover down there away from heavy objects overhead (washing machine, piano etc.) that may fall through a weakened floor. Whether you have a basement of not, avoid windows or rooms with heavy objects that can be thrown. Go to the lowest floor close to the center of the house; a bathroom or closet is ideal. Crouch face down and cover your head with your hands, a mattress, a blanket or anything else that can shield you from broken glass and other debris. Keep your pets nearby on a leash or in a crate.
  • Inside a mobile home: Mobile homes are among the most dangerous places you can be during a tornado, even if it’s tied down. Get to a permanent structure if possible. If not, find a ditch or depressed area, away from trees, cars and any other objects that could fall on you, and lie flat in it with your hands over your head.
  • Inside a public building: Go to the lowest floor possible, away from windows and close to the center of the building. Stairwells are ideal for traveling down and taking cover. Do not use elevators, which can trap you if power is lost. Once you reach a safe location, crouch with your hands over your head.
  • Inside a vehicle: Vehicles, like mobile homes, are very dangerous places to be. Park away from traffic and find shelter in a nearby building. If that’s not possible, lie face down in a ditch or depressed area with your hands over your head, far away from your car (which can roll). Do not seek shelter under a bridge because wind speeds can increase there.
  • Outdoors: If you’re outdoors when a tornado hits, find shelter or lie face down as you would if you were in a vehicle or mobile home.

The Aftermath – Keep your family together whenever possible and administer first aid to anyone in the area who may need your assistance until emergency services arrive. Watch your step because broken glass and other sharp debris can injure you as you move around. Avoid power lines and standing water, which may be electrically charged if nearby power lines are downed.

Do not enter buildings that have been significantly damaged because they could collapse at any time. The best thing to do is stay in one place (if possible) and wait for instructions from emergency crews and/or city officials.

Call AmeriAgency.com for homeowners and flood insurance at 615-209-9362.

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