Tornados occasionally develop so quickly that there could be little warning — if any, so it is important to know what to do for when one touches down near you. Shelter Solutions of Arkansas is here to help! These are the steps to follow to ensure you and your family are safe in the event of a tornado.
Before a Tornado
The first line of defense against the potential danger that a tornado brings is to be prepared. Here’s what you need to do to be ready for a tornado in a moment’s notice.
Step 1: Make an Emergency Kit
Some items you’ll want to gather may include:
- Face masks
- Thermal blankets
- Multifunction tool
- Leather-palmed work gloves
- AM/FM radio with two sets of batteries
- Flashlight with two sets of batteries
- Non-perishable snacks
- First aid kit
- Toilet paper
Step 2: Plan your Safe Shelter
Discuss with your family where the safest place is for them to seek shelter in the event of a tornado while they’re at home. Shelter Solutions of Arkansas offers a variety of safe and reliable storm shelters that accommodate families of all sizes!
Learn more about our tornado shelters and decide which works best for your family and home:
Step 3: Create a Family Communication Plan
Make sure everyone in the household knows the plan of action. Review, update, and practice your plan at least once a year and when things change. Your household communication plan should include:
- Meeting places. In the event of a disaster and your family is separated, designate a spot to meet up for each potential situation. Every person should know the addresses can how to get there.
- In your neighborhood
- Outside of your neighborhood
- Outside of your city/town
- Important phone numbers. Everyone should memorize or have a physical copy of important phone numbers and emergency service numbers since mobile devices or electronics might not be available in the event of a disaster.
- Out of town point of contact. Designate a person who can act as a central point of contact to help your household reconnect. It may be easier to make a long-distance phone call than to call across town because local phone lines can be jammed.
Step 4: Be on the Lookout
Know what the common tornado warning signs are. Being able to identify the tell-tale signs that a tornado is developing is a good way to always be prepared. Pay close attention to weather alerts and know what the terms mean.
- Tornado watch – Conditions are favorable for the development of tornadoes in and around the watch area. Those in the area are should prepare for severe weather.
- Tornado warning – A tornado has been sighted or indicated on the radar in the warning area. People in the area are strongly encouraged to take cover immediately.
During a Tornado
If you are under a tornado warning because one has developed in your area, here’s what you need to do to stay safe.
Step 1: Seek Shelter
- If you are at your home, take cover in your storm shelter or designated spot immediately!
- If you are not home but are in a building, go to an interior room on the lowest level (closet, hallway, etc.) away from windows, doors, and outside walls. Get under a sturdy table and use your arms to protect your head and neck.
- If you are outside and cannot find a safe building for shelter, crouch near a strong structure for protection or lie flat in a ditch or other low-lying area. Cover your head and neck with your arms or a jacket, if you have one.
Step 2: Monitor the Weather
Monitor your battery-powered radio or other devices for emergency information to know when the tornado warning is lifted and when it is safe to come out of your shelter.
Step 3: Maintain Your Health in the Shelter
If you are in your shelter for a long period of time, make sure you are taking care of yourself and others. If you set up your shelter with a kit of important necessities, you’ll be able to stay hydrated, fed, and warm.
After a Tornado
Do not come out from your shelter until after the tornado warning has been lifted. Here are the steps to take following a tornado.
Step 1: Check for Immediate Danger
It might seem like the coast is clear after the tornado or storm, but you still need to be aware of weather changes and insecure structures and use extreme caution when returning home. Before entering your home, check for loose power lines, gas leaks, and structural damage.
Step 2: Check-in with Household Members
Ensure your family and household members are safe and accounted for if you were separated during the storm. Refer to your family communication plan for where to meet up at and get ahold of necessary contacts.
Step 3: Monitor the News
Keep a battery-powered radio with you so you can listen for emergency updates and news reports, especially about any areas that should be avoided until proper cleanup has taken place.
Step 4: Inspect Home Damage
Use a battery-powered flashlight to inspect your damaged home. If you have any doubts about your safety, have a qualified building inspector or structural engineer inspect it before entering.
Arkansas Tornado Shelters
A tornado touching down in your area can be an extremely frightening experience. Tornado destruction can be devastating to you and your community. Ensure your family is well prepared and protected — contact Shelter Solutions of Arkansas. View our storm shelters and choose which option works best for your family’s needs.