A higher-than-average ratio of tornadoes is being forecast for the year 2020.
As a precautionary measure, more people in the U.S., especially in high-risk areas such as Plano, Sherman, Denison and Fort Worth and other areas in Texas, are preparing beforehand by investing in tornado shelters—both underground and aboveground—so they can have a safe space nearby in case a tornado hit.
However, at US Safe Rooms, we believe that more can be done for tornado safety. Here, we offer some tips and rules that will keep you secure, especially if you’re in an area where you may not have immediate access to a tornado shelter!
Practicing Tornado Safety
Run a Tornado Drill
Identify an area in your home that’s not directly connected to any exterior zones, such as the main hall, the living room or the kitchen. Find a space like a storm cellar, a basement or even a closet on the lower floors, preferably with no windows. And run a tornado drill in which all your family members and pets can go to that specific area for protection.
Remember Signs of a Tornado
Keep an eye out for these indicators in case there’s a risk of a tornado forming:
- Whirling debris or dust under a cloud base on the ground
- Heavy rain or hail, followed by a shift in wind intensity, or a complete lack thereof
- Loud rumbling or continuous roaring that’s not fading as thunder would in a storm
- Strong rotations in the cloud base
- Flashes of white, bright blue-green light at ground level, akin to the flashes of lightning during a thunderstorm (this indicates power lines that are snapping)
Identify Danger Zones Outside
If you’re out and about and see signs of a tornado warning, find shelter in a sturdy building or a basement. Stay away from highways and bridge overpasses. If you’re in a vehicle, drive to the closest shelter, rather than just running away from the tornado.
If there’s flying debris and strong winds and you can’t make it outside of your car, keep the engine running and your seatbelt on. Keep your head down and cover yourself using a thick blanket. But just be sure not to park out in the open.
Follow Aftercare Tips
Once the tornado has dissipated, let your family and friends know you’re safe. Send a quick text or call, and let them know of your location. Evacuate only when you know there’s no longer any danger. Stay updated and keep tabs on the local news and check yourself thoroughly for injuries. If there are people around you who need help, contact emergency services right away.
If you have a tornado shelter installed in your home, create a proper route to it and have other members of the household memorize it as well. It’s very common for people to panic in case of a potential disaster. You’ll want seeking shelter to be your first instinct in case there is a tornado warning.
Tornadoes can be violent and destructive. It’s your duty to yourself and your loved ones to not only practice the above safety tips, but to make others aware as well of how you all can stay secure and safe.