Tornado Preparation and Safety

Tornadoes are extremely dangerous! They can have wind speeds up to 300 miles per hour, leaving a devastating path of destruction in their wake. Damage paths from tornadoes vary greatly and have been recorded up to 3-4 miles wide with a distance up to 235 miles. Oklahoma will experience many tornadoes between April and July, so it is important to start your preparation now.

Do You Know The Difference?

Tornado Watch- tornadoes are possible in, and near, the watch area. Review and discuss your emergency plans, check supplies and prepare your shelter. Take action BEFORE the tornado is imminent.

Tornado Warning- a tornado has been sighted or indicated by weather radar. Tornado warnings indicate imminent danger to life and property.

Oklahoma Tornado facts

• Total number of Tornados in 2013: 82

• Total number of Tornados between April-July 2013 3: 77

Be Prepared

Your local National Weather Service Forecast Office provides information about dangerous weather in your area.  You should keep a close eye on this information whenever storms threaten your area. A battery operated NOAA Weather Radio with a warning alarm feature should be a part of your information system.

Look for these danger signs:

  • Dark, often greenish sky

  • Large hail

  • Large, dark, low-lying clouds

  • Loud roar, similar to a freight train

If you see approaching storms or any of the danger signs, be prepared to take shelter immediately.

Develop an emergency plan: Discuss with your family where the best tornado shelters are and how family members can protect themselves from flying and falling debris.

Have an emergency kit: Include first aid supplies, water, flashlight, medications, blanket, food and items for your pets. Consider having a backpack for everyone in your family with personal items as well.

Build a safe room: A safe room can be planned in your basement, in an interior space on your first floor, on a concrete slab foundation or garage floor.

When a tornado is imminent:

  1. Get inside

  2. Get down to the lowest floor

  3. Keep away from windows and doors

  4. Go to the inner most part of the building

  5. Cover yourself with pillows, a mattress or blankets and wear a helmet and shatter resistant goggles. Keep your shoes on.

  6. If you are not at home seek shelter in offices, schools, hospitals, or any building where a large group of people is concentrated in a small area.

  7. Avoid places / rooms with wide-span roofs (cafeterias, gymnasiums, shopping malls).

  8. If you are in a vehicle, get out immediately. DO NOT TRY TO OUTRUN A TORNADO IN YOUR CAR. Do not get under your vehicle. If there is not a building nearby, lie flat in a ditch or depression and cover your head with your hands. Do not seek shelter under an overpass. The overpass creates a wind tunnel.

After The Tornado Passes

  • Check everyone for injuries.

  • Continue to monitor your battery-powered radio or television for emergency information.

  • Be careful when entering any structure that has been damaged.

  • Be aware of hazards from exposed nails and broken glass.

  • Take pictures of the damage, of both the house and its contents, for insurance purposes.

  • If you suspect any damage to your home, shut off electrical power, natural gas, and propane tanks to avoid fire, electrocution, or explosions. If you smell gas or suspect a leak, turn off the main gas valve and leave the house immediately.

  • Stay clear of downed power lines

  • Cooperate fully with public safety officials

Be prepared and stay safe.


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