How To Survive: Tornado Preparedness

Preparedness involves a continuous process of planning, equipping, training, and exercising. Planning for tornadoes requires identifying a place to take shelter, being familiar with and monitoring your community’s warning system, and establishing procedures to account for the individuals you take on the storm with. 

How to survive a tornado

First, you're going to want to keep an eye out for these indicators:

  • A rotating, funnel shaped cloud extending from a thunderstorm towards the ground. 
  • A dark, sometimes green, sky 
  • An approaching cloud of debris 
  • A loud roar (similar to a freight train)
  • A strange calm after a thunderstorm 
  • Debris falling from the sky

    National Warning Systems use two types of signals when a tornado conditions are favorable, tornado watch or tornado warning. 

    Tornado Watch - Tornadoes are likely to occur in the watch area. Be ready to act quickly and take shelter, and check supply kits. Monitor radio and television stations for more information.

    Tornado Warning - Imminent threat - A tornado has been sighted in the area or has been indicated by radar. Take shelter immediately. 


    • Seek a small interior room or hallway on the lowest floor possible
    • Stay away from doors, windows, and outside walls
    • Stay in the center of the room, and avoid corners because they attract debris
    • Rooms constructed with reinforced concrete, brick or block with no windows and a heavy concrete floor or roof system overhead
    • Avoid auditoriums, cafeterias and gymnasiums that have flat, wide-span roofs.

    Basic Emergency Supply Kit

    A basic emergency supply kit could include the following recommended items:

    • Water, one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation
    • Food, at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food
    • Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both
    • Flashlight and extra batteries
    • First aid kit
    • Whistle to signal for help
    • Dust mask to help filter contaminated air
    • Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
    • Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
    • Manual can opener for food
    • Local maps
    • Cell phone with chargers, inverter or solar charger
    • Good reliable footwear, there will most likely be glass and debris after a tornado so be prepared

    Another great item to include in your emergency kit is a Survival Water Filter, if you run out of clean water you don't have to worry!


    Its always better to have a plan, and never have to use it, then to not be prepared at all. Thanks to OSHA and Emergency Essentials for the helpful information. Happy trails, stay safe out there!

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