A good day to practice your tornado response

Tornado photo

Indiana’s statewide tornado drills today provide excellent opportunities to practice what you would do if the National Weather Service issued a real tornado warning for your area. Here are the basics:

  1. Listen to or read the entire warning. If your first notification is from hearing a siren, turn on a radio or television or go to the Web to get the details. You’ll learn exactly what areas are covered by the warning, what prompted the warning and what impacts to expect from the storm.
  2. If you are in the warning area, take shelter. Do not go outside to look for the tornado. Assume that you are in immediate danger and act accordingly. Below are official recommendations on where to take shelter based on various situations.
  3. Remain sheltered until the storm has passed and/or the warning has expired.

If you practice these steps today, when the test tornado warnings come out (once in the morning and again in the evening), you’ll be better prepared for a real warning.

Below are recommendations from the Federal Emergency Management Agency regarding how to take shelter from a tornado:

If you are in: Then:
A structure (e.g. residence, small building, school, nursing home, hospital, factory, shopping center, high-rise building)
  • Go to a pre-designated shelter area such as a safe room, basement, storm cellar, or the lowest building level. If there is no basement, go to the center of an interior room on the lowest level (closet, interior hallway) away from corners, windows, doors, and outside walls. Put as many walls as possible between you and the outside. Get under a sturdy table and use your arms to protect your head and neck.
  • In a high-rise building, go to a small interior room or hallway on the lowest floor possible.
  • Put on sturdy shoes (you might have to walk through debris on the way out).
  • Do not open windows.
A trailer or mobile home
  • Get out immediately and go to the lowest floor of a sturdy, nearby building or a storm shelter. Mobile homes, even if tied down, offer little protection from tornadoes.
The outdoors with no shelter
  • Immediately get into a vehicle, buckle your seat belt and try to drive to the closest sturdy shelter.
  • If your vehicle is hit by flying debris while you are driving, pull over and park.
  • Stay in the car with the seat belt on. Put your head down below the windows; cover your head with your hands and a blanket, coat or other cushion if possible.
  • If you can safely get noticeably lower than the level of the roadway, leave your car and lie in that area, covering your head with your hands
  • Do not get under an overpass or bridge. You are safer in a low, flat location.
  • Never try to outrun a tornado in urban or congested areas in a car or truck. Instead, leave the vehicle immediately for safe shelter.
  • Watch out for flying debris. Flying debris from tornadoes causes most fatalities and injuries.