How to Create a Tornado Safety Plan for Your Household

Tornadoes form and strike with little to no warning, which is why establishing a tornado safety plan for your household can literally mean the difference between life and death for your loved ones.

How to Create a Tornado Safety Plan

Follow these steps to create a tornado safety plan for your household:

  1. Identify the safest place in your home for family members and pets to go to in the event of a tornado warning. 
    • The safest place to be during a tornado is in a basement room without windows. If you do not have a basement, the safest place is a windowless inner room (generally a hallway, bathroom, or closet) on the first or lowest floor.
    • Get down on the ground and protect your head with anything available (your hands, a blanket, sleeping bag, etc.)
    • If possible, go under something sturdy, such as a heavy piece of furniture.
  1. Create or print out a floorplan of your home.
    • Walk through your home and discuss primary and secondary exits in each room. Indicate where they are on the floorplan.
    • Note where your first aid kit, emergency supplies and fire extinguishers are located on the floorplan. 
    • Write down the location of utility switches or valves so that they can be turned off.
  1. Review the tornado warning system for your area.
  2. Review basic first aid, how to use a fire extinguisher, and how to turn off utilities (gas, water, electricity).
  3. Conduct periodic drills to make sure family members know what to do in the event of a real emergency.

Other Ways to Prepare for a Tornado

  1. Make a list of important information, such as:
    • Medical information (medications, allergies, medical conditions)
    • Important telephone numbers (emergency services, utility companies, neighbors, insurance agent, banks)
    • Year, model, color, license plate, and VIN numbers for your vehicle(s)
  1. Create an emergency supply kit, which, at a minimum, should include:
    • Battery-operated NOAA weather radio
    • First aid kit
    • One gallon of water per person per day
    • Flashlights and batteries
    • Cordless power bank
    • Non-perishable food
    • Personal hygiene products – soap, deodorant, feminine products, toothbrush, toothpaste, antibacterial wipes, tissues, hairbrush, or comb
  1. Store important documents in a fire- and water-proof location. You should also consider storing copies in a safety deposit box at a bank. Important documents include:
    • Birth certificates
    • Social Security cards
    • Passports
    • Pet chip information
    • Wills
    • Insurance policies
    • Medical documents
    • Ownership documents
    • Inventory of valuable items, and photos, or videos of each room of your home and the items inside

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