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WATCH: How to Stay Alive in a Tornado

Screen Shot 2016-02-16 at 3.03.45 PMIn the United States, we get an average of 1,000 tornadoes every year and they can strike any state in any month, although Alaska has only seen 2 twisters since 1950 and Hawaii as only had around 40 in the same period.

So how do you prepare for Tornadoes? First, have a PLAN. Know where your safe place is at home and work AND know what you’ll do if a warning is issued while you’re out and about. Next, make sure you have a reliable warning device, like a NOAA weather radio, in addition to any apps you may use. When a watch is issued, be ready for a warning at any time and if a warning IS issued, go to your safe place immediately – don’t look outside to see if “you can see it coming” Listen to local radio or TV stations for the latest information, if possible from your shelter.

At home, your safest place is the innermost room on the lowest level – you want as many walls between you and the outside as possible. Closets under stairs and inner bathrooms are good choices – avoid rooms with windows! Remember, it’s not the wind itself that’s dangerous; it’s what’s IN the wind and most tornado injuries and deaths are caused by flying debris. If you have any kind of sports helmets for your family members, put them on when you take shelter!

At work, the same rules apply and if there’s no specified safe place in your building, inner stairwells without windows are good places to shelter.

If you’re in your car, get out and take shelter in a sturdy building and if none is available, choose a low lying area or ditch and DON’T stop under an overpass – they can funnel the air and debris and can be more dangerous than being out in the open!

After the storm passes, leave your safe place ONLY if you know it’s safe to do so and if you go outside, watch for downed power lines and stay away from them and other hazardous debris on the ground! Being prepared really can mean the difference between safe and sorry!

For WeatherNation: John Van Pelt

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