Be prepared in case of a tornado

Published 7:00 am Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Under the right conditions, tornados can cause massive amounts of damage. A powerful tornado can rip through forests, tear down buildings and hurl deadly debris through the air along its path. Unlike hurricanes, we don’t have as much time to prepare for tornados – so it is important to always be prepared.

The first step in preparing for a tornado is to identify the safest room in the building.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration recommends via its website to find a room underground – such as a storm bunker or basement. If an underground shelter is not available, the next best thing would be to find a small room somewhere in the center of the building, such as a closet or bathroom. Always avoid windows, and make sure to go to the bottom floor of the building, the website states. Be sure every family member or worker in a building knows where to go in case of a tornado – so there is less chance of panic and confusion.

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Once a safe place has been located, prepare a disaster kit with food, water, a first aid kit and other necessities to keep in the room.

If you are traveling or outside when a tornado hits and there is not a shelter nearby, the website recommends finding a ditch or other area lower than street level to lie in.

Regardless of whether you are in the path of a tornado inside or outside a safe shelter, the website recommends keeping your head covered with your hands, a blanket or a pillow.

In addition to knowing what immediate steps to take, it is also important to have some kind of warning system in place.

Most cellphones receive automatic updates from the national weather alert system and many cities are equipped with severe weather sirens. Regardless, it is wise to invest in an additional warning system, such as a weather radio.

Because tornados are unpredictable, it is important to always be prepared.