By Brandon Allred 

Everyone should know about tornado safety, even those who do not live in areas that are highly prone to these devastating acts of nature. Tornados are serious storms that can ruin everything in their path. This is why knowing what to do before, during and after a tornado is of great importance. It can mean the difference between life and death.

Before the Tornado

If the weather conditions are ripe for a tornado to develop than your area will come under a tornado watch. At this point all you really have to do is keep an eye on the weather in case the watch turns into a warning. A tornado warning is issued when a tornado has been spotted in or near your area. This is when it becomes important to begin the steps of safety and protection. Before a tornado hits you should be ready to take cover. This is when a family tornado safety program comes in handy. Practice your plans with tornado drills so everyone understands what to do and think in advance about the place you will be the safest in your home. Make sure that you have a tornado kit filled with flashlights, water, food (non-perishable), band aids and other first aid supplies. It is also a good idea to have a weather radio that relies on batteries for power.

Where to Take Cover

Tip 1:

If you are in a place where there is a basement you should go there and get under something sturdy. This will help protect you from anything that falls. Basements or any other part of a home that is underground is the best place to be during a tornado.

Tip 2:

If no basement is available then stay on the first floor of the building in a room that has no outside walls. This is usually a bathroom or closet. Stay clear of windows and outside walls as these parts of buildings are the most vulnerable during a tornado.

Tip 3:

If there is no basement or rooms with no outside walls (such as in a mobile home) it is best to seek shelter elsewhere. Go to a designated tornado shelter or the home of a friend or family member that is considered safe (or at least safer) than a mobile home.

Tip 4:

Never take shelter in a vehicle. If you are already driving when the warning occurs or you see a tornado, pull over and get out. Vehicles are easily picked up and tossed during tornados. Instead you should get into a ditch or a drainage pipe. While it is not a good idea to try to out drive a tornado, if you can do so from right angles away from the storm you may be okay to do so.

Tip 5:

If you have no other choice because you are caught off guard, lie in a bathtub and pull a mattress over the top of you for protection. Some people have also survived by tying themselves to the sink pipes in their homes to stop them from being pulled into the tornado. However, this does not protect you from falling debris.

After a Tornado

Always stay in your safe place until after you are sure that the storm has passed. Listen to your radio for the latest weather information. When it is safe to emerge check to see if there are any electrical or gas damaged areas. When you go outside be on the lookout for fallen power lines and report any to the proper authorities. Also report any injuries immediately. Steer clear from any rubble and wait for help to arrive if it is needed. Knowing all of this puts you in a better position to survive a tornado.

There was a time when tornado season was typically in the spring.  One never knows when the conditions are just right for one to strike, so pay attention to these tips just in case. Pat