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Stay safe during tornadoes

03/14/2015 03:12PM ● Published by Tim

Although favorable conditions for tornadoes in the United States can occur at any time, the period in which most tornadoes strike is March through June. Tornados are more common in the United States than any other country in the world. On average the US has more than 1200 tornados a year, and most are concentrated in the Midwest. Here are some safety tips to prepare for the “Tornado Season”.

The most important things to remember are: Get In, Get Down, and Cover Up!

GET IN—If you are outside, get inside. If you are already inside, get as far into the middle of the building as possible.

GET DOWN—Get underground. If there is no basement or cellar available, go to the lowest floor possible.

COVER UP—Flying and falling debris are a storm’s number one killer. It is not the wind in a tornado that kills and injures people - it is the flying debris lofted by the wind. Items could either be flying through the air or falling to the ground, ranging in size from shards of broken glass to full-sized cars. Use pillows, blankets, coats, helmets, etc. to cover up and protect your head and body from flying debris.

The three groups of people most at risk during a tornado are those who are outdoors, in mobile/manufactured homes, and on the road in vehicles.

Have a safety plan. Your plan at home should be known by everyone in the home and practiced at least twice each year. Children who may be at home alone should know what to do and where to go even if no adults are there.

A basement is a good shelter in most cases. When taking shelter in a basement:

•            Get under a stairwell or sturdy bench to protect yourself from falling objects. The southwest corner of your basement DOES NOT offer the best protection from tornadoes. This is a myth. The safest place in your basement is under something.

•            If your basement has outside doors or windows, stay as far away from them as possible.

•            Use coverings (pillows, blankets, mattresses, sleeping bags, coats, etc.) and helmets to shield your head and body from flying debris.

If you do not have a basement, find a location that is as close to the ground as possible, as far inside the building as possible, away from doors, windows, and outside walls.

AFTER THE TORNADO—Keep your family together and wait for emergency personnel to arrive. Carefully render aid to those who are injured. Stay away from power lines and puddles with wires in them; they may still be carrying electricity! Watch your step to avoid broken glass, nails, and other sharp objects. Stay out of any heavily damaged houses or buildings; they could collapse at any time. Do not use matches or lighters, in case of leaking natural gas pipes or fuel tanks nearby. Remain calm and alert, and listen for information and instructions from emergency crews or local officials. nfpa.org/safety-information/for-consumers/emergency-preparedness/natural-disasters/tornadoes.


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