Where to Go During a Tornado

April 8-14, 2012 marks Maryland’s Severe Weather Awareness Week.  On Wednesday, April 11, 2012, there will be a statewide tornado drill.  A message will be sent over the NOAA Weather Radio at 9:45 am, and an all clear message will follow at 10 am.  This is a great opportunity for schools, businesses and residents to test their emergency plan for tornadoes.

Where should you seek shelter from a tornado? 

The answer depends on where you are.  Use these safety tips from the National Weather Service to develop your own emergency tornado plan:

In a house with a basement: Go to the basement, stay away from any windows, and get under some kind of sturdy protection (like a heavy table) or cover yourself with a mattress of sleeping bag.

In a house or apartment without a basement: Go to the lowest floor and take shelter away from windows in a small interior room (like a bathroom or a closet), under a stairwell or in an interior hallway. Crouch as low as possible to the floor, facing down, and cover your head with your hands.  A bath tub may offer partial protection.  If possible, cover yourself with thick padding (mattress or blankets) to protect against falling debris. If you live above the ground floor of an apartment building, get to know your first floor neighbors in case you need to take shelter with them.

In a high-rise building: Go directly to an interior, windowless area in the center of the building on the lowest floor possible.  Crouch down and cover your head.  Interior stairwells are usually good places to take shelter.  Stay off the elevators.

In a mobile home: Get out!  Mobile homes offer very little protection during a tornado.  Go to your community’s storm shelter or to a nearby permanent structure.

At school: Follow the drill!  Go to the interior hall or room in an orderly fashion.  Crouch low, head down, and protect the back of your head with your arms.  Stay away from windows and large open rooms like gyms and auditoriums.

In a car or truck: Vehicles are very dangerous places to be during a tornado.  If the tornado is far away, you may be able to drive out of its path by driving perpendicular to its path.  Otherwise, safely park your vehicle and then seek shelter in a nearby building.  If no shelter is available, exit your vehicle and lie down in a nearby ditch.  Avoid seeking shelter under bridges, which create deadly traffic hazards while offering very little protection from flying debris.

While Outdoors: If there is no shelter nearby, lie flat and face-down on low ground, protecting the back of your head with your arms.  Stay as far as you can away from trees, vehicles and other large objects.

For more tornado  safety information, visit: http://www.spc.noaa.gov/faq/tornado/safety.html


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