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Tornadoes can hit at anytime when you least expect it. Being aware of the weather conditions and understanding the warnings are the first step in surviving.

- A “tornado watch” means that the conditions are favorable for a tornado to develop.
- A “tornado warning” means that a funnel cloud has been sighted.

Do you know what to do when a tornado warning is issued? Being prepared is important and it may save lives.

Before a Tornado-
1. Make sure your family knows the difference between a tornado watch and warning. Discuss what actions should take place for each. The family should know to stay alert during a watch and to stay tuned for further announcements. If a warning is issued, the family should seek safety.
2. Annually practice a tornado drill. Each member of the family should know which areas are safe during a tornado.
3. Prepare a first aid emergency kit. Make sure it is in a convenient place that the family is aware of. Basics items should include a flashlight, batteries, a battery-operated radio, first aid supplies, blankets, canned food, water, and instructions for turning off the electricity or gas.

Seeking Shelter
When a tornado watch is issued, find shelter. Do not wait until your hear sirens, see or hear the tornado. It may be too late then.

Finding a safe place during a tornado should be top priority. Indoors, the basement or a storm shelter is the safest place. If a basement is not available, stay in the lowest level of the building. A small area free of windows like a closet is best. Once you have a found a safe place, try to get underneath heavy furniture and protect your head.

If you find yourself outdoors during a tornado and are unable to seek shelter, find the lowest area. Lying flat in a ditch may be your best option. Put your hands over your head. This can protect your head from flying debris.

If you live in a mobile home or are in a vehicle when a tornado hits, immediately get outdoors and find a safe place.

No matter where you find yourself during a tornado, stay away from windows and power-lines.

After a Tornado
When the tornado has passed and it is safe, make sure everyone is okay. Administer first aid and acquire help if needed. Continue to listen to the radio for further weather instructions and alerts. When everyone is safe, begin assessing any damage to your home and be careful of fallen power-lines.

Tornadoes can cause mass destruction. Many things can be replaced and rebuilt, but lives can not. Be prepared and make sure you and the ones you love can survive a tornado.