Action Plan

Chrome 2001
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Harvard Medical School
Chrome 2001
Chrome 2001

Action Plan

Healthy Lifestyle
Action Plan
Action Plan
It is important for all family members to be prepared before a tornado strikes.
InteliHealth Content

InteliHealth Content



Action Plan
Before a Tornado
  • It is important for all family members to be prepared before a tornado strikes.
  • Determine the tornado risk in your area by contacting your local emergency management office or American Red Cross chapter.
  • Put together a Family Disaster Plan. It is important to review the plan often so that all family members, including children, understand it and know what to do in case of a tornado.
  • Put together a Disaster Supplies Kit for your home and a smaller one for your car.
  • Install smoke detectors on every level of your home. Test monthly and change the batteries once a year.
  • Learn how to use an ABC-type fire extinguisher and make sure it remains charged.
  • Understand the warnings and watches issued by the National Weather Service regarding tornadoes. Warnings and watches are issued for a particular area so it is important to know the name of your county or parish.
    • A tornado watch is issued when conditions are such that tornado formation is possible. A severe thunderstorm watch means that a severe thunderstorm, which could form tornadoes, is expected within six hours for a specific area.
    • A tornado warning is issued when a tornado has been seen or has been detected on radar.
  • It is important to recognize the warning signs of a tornado. These include:
    • Dark, greenish sky
    • Large hail
    • A strange stillness
    • A loud roar (that has been described as the sound of a freight train)
    • A cloud of debris (sometimes a tornado is invisible until it picks up debris)
  • Identify a safe place in your home where your family will go to during a tornado. You may want to have your safe place reinforced. See the FEMA Web site for information on tornado safe rooms.
    • The safest place to be during a tornado is underground.
    • If you do not have a basement or a storm cellar, the safest place is low to the ground and away from windows.
    • An interior room, with many walls between you and the outside, is also safe.
    • If you live in a mobile home, choose a place in a nearby building.
    • If you live in a high-rise building and cannot get to a low level, pick a safe place in an interior hallway.
  • Know how your community warns its citizens of a tornado.
  • Know the disaster plan in your workplace and in your child's school.
  • Remove any dead or damaged limbs from trees around your home.
  • Make a list of what you will bring indoors if a storm forms.
  • Inventory the items in your home for insurance purposes.
When a Tornado Watch Has Been Issued
  • Listen to the updated weather information on a NOAA Weather Radio or battery-powered radio or television.
  • Be alert for tornado warning signs.
  • Be ready to move to your safe place.
When a Tornado Warning Has Been Issued or If You See a Tornado
  • Get inside and go to your safe place.
  • Try to get under a sturdy piece of furniture to shield yourself from flying debris.
  • Protect your head and neck with your arms.
  • Stay away from windows. It is not true that houses explode during tornadoes because of a build-up of air pressure. Damage is often greater if the windows are opened; therefore, it is not recommended that windows be opened during a tornado.
  • Listen for updated weather information on a NOAA Weather Radio or a battery-powered radio or television.
  • Avoid places with spanning roofs such as malls, auditoriums and cafeterias. They are more likely to be damaged during a tornado.
  • If you are in a car:
    • Stop, get out and try to get inside. It is not true that you should try to drive at a right angle to a tornado. Tornadoes move fast and change directions. If you try to outrun a tornado, you could wind up driving directly toward it.
    • If you cannot get inside a building, lie flat in a low spot away from trees and power lines that can fall on you.
    • Protect your head and neck with your arms.
    • Move if flooding is occurring.
After a Tornado
  • Check yourself for injuries. Help others who are injured (only move those who may be further injured).
  • Listen to emergency information and instructions on a NOAA Weather Radio or battery-powered radio or television.
  • Wear sturdy shoes.
  • Watch for broken glass, debris, spills and downed power lines.
  • Stay out of damaged buildings.
  • Stay away from floodwater.
  • If it is safe to re-enter your home, inspect for damage to the electrical, gas, sewage and water systems.
    • If there are sparks or broken wires, turn off the electricity (unless you have to step in water to get to the fuse box or circuit breaker).
    • If you smell gas or hear a hissing sound, open a window and leave the building. If possible, turn off the gas from the main valve outside and call the gas company. The gas can only be turned back on by a professional.
    • If you think there is sewage damage, avoid using the toilet.
    • If you suspect water system damage, avoid using water from the tap.
  • Drink only water that you know is safe. Damage to water systems and flooding can contaminate water. Drinking contaminated water can make you sick. Do not use the water for drinking, cooking or personal hygiene until the proper authorities say that it is safe to do so.
  • Use the telephone for life-threatening emergencies only.
  • Use a flashlight and not candles, which can ignite flammable materials.


Last updated October 14, 2016

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