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 Tornado Safety


  • When storms approach, monitor TV, AM/FM radio and NOAA weather radio broadcasts, register for AlertLake, and monitor Tornado Warnings from Wireless Emergency Alerts for smartphones. Keep a battery-powered radio for emergencies.
  • A TORNADO WATCH is issued when a severe weather system may spawn tornadoes. It means watch the sky. A TORNADO WARNING lasts for one hour or less and it means take action right now. A tornado is on the ground or about to be on the ground.
  • Have a family disaster plan. Ask about tornado plans in offices, stores or other areas you visit frequently. Learn the locations of interior shelters.
  • Remember, practice the plan. Have a place to call and a place to meet.
  • Know where to shelter in the house. Store protective materials – such as blankets or sleeping bags – in the shelter.
  • In case family members are separated, plan a place to call to let others know you are safe. Plan a place to meet if you are cut off from your neighborhood.


  • Get low and stay low. If you can, get inside – away from windows.
  • Never try to outrun a tornado in a vehicle. If you see a tornado, get out of the car. Take shelter in a ditch, ravine or culvert. Be alert to potential flooding.
  • Do not seek shelter beneath an overpass. High winds and flying debris are likely to cause injuries.
  • Avoid any area with a wide, unsupported roof. That includes auditoriums, cafeterias, gymnasiums, theaters or central courts at malls. Go to interior rooms with no windows.
  • Most tornado fatalities result from injuries to the head or neck from flying debris. Protect yourself with thick padding such as blankets or mattresses – or quickly get under a sturdy piece of furniture – a table, bench or church pew.
  • If you are in an office, hospital or nursing home, go to the lowest floor. Stay away from windows. Avoid elevators. Shelter in a stairwell, hallway, storage closet or bathroom.
  • At school, follow the drill. Take shelter in an inside room, hallway, storage closet or stairwell. Avoid windows or any area with large amounts of glass.
  • At home, take shelter in a room without windows on the lowest floor – a bathroom, hallway, closet or stairwell.
  • If you are outside and there is no sturdy building nearby, take shelter in a low-lying area. Keep an eye out for flooding.
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