The first step to surviving a tornado is to listen for tornado watches and warnings. A tornado watch means that conditions are favorable for a tornado to form. A tornado warning means there is immediate danger of a tornado.
Local radio and television stations serve a great purpose in notifying us of severe weather, but are not always available or turned on. Outdoor warning sirens are also good warning devices.
But the best way to hear tornado warnings in your home is a NOAA weather radio, which picks up around-the-clock broadcasts from the National Weather Service and sounds a loud alarm in the event a warning is issued.
Choose a safe place. Practice being prepared.
Pick out a safe place in your home and make sure all family members, especially children, know to go there in the event of a tornado warning. Conduct periodic tornado drills, so everyone remembers what to do when a tornado is approaching. Stress the importance of staying calm.
If you live in a home.
The safest place in your home in the event of a tornado is on the lowest level, preferably the basement, if you have one. Choose a small room away from windows, such as a closet, hallway or bathroom. Stay near the center of the house to put as many walls as possible between you and a tornado. Close any doors in the room. If your safest room is the first-floor bathroom, grab a mattress or some cushions, get in the tub and put the mattress or cushions over your head for protection.
If you live in a mobile home.
Pick a nearby shelter to go to in the event of a severe weather threat. Should a tornado warning sound, get out immediately and head for safety in a nearby shelter or the basement of a nearby building. If there is no time to get to a shelter, lie flat in a ditch, culvert or other low-lying area and cover your head with your arms and hands. Do not try to flee a tornado in a vehicle.
Know what to do if you are caught outdoors.
If you’re caught outdoors, hurry to the basement of a nearby sturdy structure or building. Or lie flat in a ditch, culvert or other low-lying area and cover you head with your arms and hands. Do not remain in a vehicle during a tornado. Immediately get out and lie flat in the lowest nearby area, protecting your head with your arms and hands.