The following information was provided by the National Fire Safety Council, Inc.
When Tornados Occur
Tornados occur when warm, moist air comes into contact with a cold front. Tornados tend to strike during spring or summer months and most often between the hours of 3 and 9 p.m., but have been known to happen at any time.
A tornado has been spotted. Time to act! TAKE COVER IMMEDIATELY. Stay away from glass, outside walls, and things that could fall on you. Be prepared for lightening and flash floods. A warning usually is issued for a portion of a county and lasts 30 minutes to and hour.
Weather bulletins are issued by the National Weather Service on the radio, TV, and Internet. These announcements give the location and course of severe weather or a tornado by county or parish. An online interactive weather map displaying Warnings and Watches, can be accessed at the following Internet address:
Find out what warning signals (sirens and weather bulletins) and procedures your community has. Know where the established shelters are. Know evacuation procedures for the elderly, disabled, and animals.
Established family tornado safety drills. Practice them both during the day and at night. Check emergency procedures for daycare, hospitals, your workplace, etc.
Choose 2 safe meeting places. One outside of your home for emergencies such as fire, and the other outside of your neighborhood in case you can't return home (such as a marked shelter). Be sure family members know where this safe shelter is and the phone number.
Ask a relative or friend who lives out-of-state to be your "family contact." Inform other family members that do not live with you to call this person for information. Local telephone lines may not be in service and it may be easier to call long distance. This will keep lines needed for emergency open.
Inspect your home often for objects that could move, fall, break, or cause damage or injury.
Keep inventories and records in a safe place away from your home or in a water proof container.
Conditions are favorable for severe weather, including a tornado. A tornado watch usually lasts 2-6 hours and covers a section of the state. Keep an eye on the sky for changes in the weather. A watch allows time to prepare.
Listen to local radio and television weather reports.
Locate all members of your family and know where they will be.
Review your tornado safety drill.
Make sure your first aid kit is complete.
If time permits, secure items that could be carried away or propelled such as garbage cans and lawn furniture. Park vehicles in the garage when possible.
During a Tornado
Knowing the basic skills of survival in the event of a tornado can help keep your family safe whether you are at home or away.
Emergency personnel and disaster relief workers are on the scene quickly, but not everyone can be reached right away. Basic services such as electricity, water, gas and telephone me be out for days. You could suddenly lose everything including your home.
After a Tornado
DO NOT go to the tornado scene. Remain calm and stay in your safe shelter or safe meeting place until the danger has passed and help arrives. The area must be kept clear for emergency personnel. Listen for instructions and follow them. Cooperate with local officials who are trained in emergency procedures and are looking out for the welfare of the entire community.
Apply first aid or seek help for seriousl y injured people.
Check for property and auto- mobile damage.
When you check for gas or other utility line breaks USE A FLASHLIGHT ONLY. Never use a match, lighter, or any open flame to check these highly flammable items. Only turn off utilities if you suspect the lines are damaged or are instructed to do so. Remember: some utilities such as gas need to be turned back on by a professional
Be a good neighbor and help others in need, but do not venture into damaged buildings or areas.
Avoid and report downed powerlines.
Only use water that is declared safe for consumption and check food for glass and debris.
Contact your insurance company.
Clean up flammable or poisonous liquid spills.
Call your "family contact" and alert him to your condition. Ask him to notify other friends and relatives who may be concerned. Avoid using the phone unless needed for a life-threatening emergency.