Use the guidelines below to develop a personal tornado safety plan for you and your family. Remember you need to have a plan for wherever you may be when a tornado strikes - at home, at school, at work, on the road or in a public building.
Know what the threats are. In Oklahoma and North Texas, we need to be concerned about severe thunderstorms, wind, hail, lightning, flash flooding and tornadoes.
You must be able to get to your safe shelter area quickly - you may only have seconds to act! Your first step to surviving a tornado is to develop a plan before storms are on the horizon.
Developing a Tornado Safety Kit
These items would be extremely useful to have in your storm shelter, or to take with
you to your storm shelter, when severe weather strikes.
Disaster Supply Kit You should store your emergency supplies as close to your
shelter as possible.
Battery Operated Weather Radio You will want to be able to monitor the latest
information directly from your National Weather Service.
Battery Operated TV and/or Radio This will allow you to monitor news and severe weather information. Radios that offer TV audio can be helpful. Also, many TV stations simulcast their broadcasts on AM or FM radio stations.
Shoes This will be very important if your home is damaged and you must walk across broken glass or other debris!
Identification You may need identification to move around in the area should significant damage occur to your neighborhood and access to the area is restricted to residents only.
Your Car Keys If your car is drivable, you will need the keys to be able to use it. It's a good idea to keep an extra set in your shelter area.
Cell Phone If there is phone service, you will certainly want your phone. However, remember that cell phone service may be interrupted after a tornado or other disaster!
Other things to consider:
If you have a safe room or other shelter area, you might consider storing important papers and other
irreplaceable items in the shelter if space permits.
Check and replace batteries in your weather radio, flashlights and other devices in your safety kit often, preferably twice a year. Do this at the same time you set clocks back/ahead in the spring and fall, and when you replace smoke detector batteries. Check you disaster supplies kit often as well, to maintain fresh food and water, etc. Remember that your disaster supplies kit could also be critical in other types of disasters, including winter storms, etc.
Make sure you have something to cover up with. Pillows, blankets, sleeping bags or a mattress could help
to protect you from falling/flying debris. Above all protect your head, neck and upper body. Wear a helmet
(bicycle, football, baseball, motorcycle, hard hat, etc.) if you have one. If there's room, lie flat and cover up.
Otherwise, get as low to the ground as possible and make as small a target as possible.
Unfortunately, there are no safety rules - absolute safety facts that will keep you safe 100% of the time. Instead, we offer guidelines for personal safety. The vast majority of tornadoes are weak and don't last very long. By following the guidelines included in this document, you and your family can survive a tornado. These tornado safety guidelines should reduce - but will not totally eliminate - your chances of being seriously injured or killed in a tornado.
The good news is that you can survive most tornadoes. The key to survival is planning - knowing what you need to do to be safe before a tornado threatens.
(This article reprinted from the National Weather Service.)