What is it?
A tornado, or twister, is a violent funnel shaped column of air that rotates at tremendous speeds which cause damage to buildings and roads as well as disrupt transportation, power, communications, water and gas lines. In addition to heavy wind, tornadoes also are accompanied by lightning and hail.
How to prepare for a Tornado
-Designate a safe room for family and pets. This should be a basement, storm cellar of an interior room with no windows on the lowest level of the home.
-Have an emergency kit that includes water, food, a first aid kit and a wind up radio.
-Look for the signs like a dark, greenish sky, large hail, low clouds and the sound like a freight train.
-The differences between and tornado watch (proper conditions for a tornado) and a tornado warning (a tornado has been sighted and you should seek shelter immediately).
What to do during
-Seek shelter. The best places to seek shelter are the lowest level of the building such as a basement or storm cellar. If that is not available, find a room towards the middle of the building with no windows as flying debris from the high winds is one of the main causes of injuries during a tornado. Many public buildings in tornado prone areas.
-Cover your head and neck with your arms and cover your body with cushions such as blankets, coats, mattresses, etc.
-If you are outside with no structures to go to, lay flat on the ground. If you are in your car, drive quickly to the closest shelter.
Aftermath and recovery
What to do after
-If you are trapped under debris, make noise or tap on walls or pipes to get the attention of rescuers. Moving around may cause debris to fall on you, causing injury.
-Text family members or rescue workers for help.
-Beware of downed power lines which may look dead but still be alive.
-Listen to NOAA to see if more tornadoes are still in the area to make sure it is safe to go outside.
-Once it is safe, assess the damage and see if others need help.