Staying Safe During a Tornado

Staying Safe During a Tornado

April 19, 2024

In Conway we see a lot of tornado warnings and watches throughout the year. Do you know what to do if one is really headed your way? Having a plan, and a kit, as we discussed last week can save valuable time in a situation like this but what happens if you need to! Here are some tips on how to keep you and your family safe if you ever get in the path of a tornado. 

Knowing the Difference in Tornado Watches and Tornado Warnings

Every year, the question is asked, is a tornado watch or tornado warning more dangerous. Well it depends on how you look at it. A tornado watch is like "Hey, we have the ingredients for tacos, but we are waiting to assemble the tacos" and a tornado warning is saying "WE HAVE TACOS! CONFIRMED!" Some say that of course that known tornado would be the most scary of the two, but the "ingredients" can also be something to keep an eye on. Once they "mix" you could have another tornado on your hands. 

Take Shelter Immediately

A tornado warning is specifically issued when a tornado is sighted or indicated by weather radar. If you see a tornado warning, you need to take cover immediately. As we mentioned though, sometimes they form unexpectedly and without warning, so keep an eye out for: rotating funnel-shaped clouds, approaching cloud of debris, loud roar like a train, or any of the other signs we mentioned in our prior tornado post. Make sure you have a weather radio you can listen to, as the power may go out. 

Where to Take Shelter

If you are at home, go to your basement or an inside room, away from windows, on the lowest floor of your home. This could be a center hallways, closet or even bathroom. If you have an upstairs, avoid taking shelter in areas where you know heavy things are on the floor above you. These could fall through the floor and injure you. For added protection, get under something sturdy, such as a workbench, or heavy table. Try to cover yourself with a blanket, sleeping bag, mattress, etc. and protect your head with ANYTHING available -- even your hands. 

If you are living in a mobile home don't stay there during a tornado. If you are able to safely, get to a nearby building. Mobile homes can turn over during strong winds, so even if there is not a shelter nearby, a second option would be to lie flat in the nearest ditch, ravine, or culvert and shield your head. 

If you are in a mall, theater, gym, grocery store, etc., get to the lowest level of the building and stay away from windows. If you are at work or school, follow the tornado drills you've done. If there isn't time to get to a lower level, etc., try to get under a door frame or get up against something that will support of deflect falling debris. 

If you are in a vehicle or outside, don't try to outrun the tornado. Get to the closest shelter, or if you are unable to, get down in your vehicle, a ditch or ravine and cover your head and neck. Specifically stay away from highway overpasses and bridges and lots of trees for protection. 

If a tornado hits, you want to not only be prepared, but you want to be able to ride out the danger. Use these tips, discuss a plan with your family and make sure you are prepared for Arkansas' tornado season. Next week we will talk about what to do after a tornado has hit with tips and tricks on how to get your insurance process started as fast as possible. Stay Safe Conway!