What you can do to try to stay safe when a tornado hits, and also well beforehand

Record warmth this winter fueled a deadly tornado outbreak across parts of Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana and Arkansas in March. Then tornadoes killed multiple people and injured at least 35 others in Iowa. Recent twisters have even struck in places unaccustomed to them, such as one near Los Angeles in 2023 that tore apart rooftops and injured one person.

what you can do to try to stay safe when a tornado hits, and also well beforehand

Severe Weather-Tornado Safety

When a tornado takes aim at your house, and the sirens are sounding, the dogs are barking and the children are screaming, there are some last-minute precautions that could save the lives of you and your loved ones.

But experts also recommend a few simple steps to prepare well before the twister is on your doorstep. Here's a look at some tornado safety tips:

CLASSIC PRECAUTIONS

Weather radios, specialized receivers that get alerts and can sound an alarm in an emergency, are something that every home and business should have, said Rick Smith, the warning coordination meteorologist at the National Weather Service’s forecast office in Norman, Oklahoma.

“It does feel like old-school technology, but they are life-saving devices,” Smith said.

Radios can be particularly valuable in the South, where many tornadoes strike at night when people are sleeping. “This can wake you up in the middle of the night with the alarm,” Smith said.

The National Weather Service encourages people to have multiple ways of being warned, which can include weather radios, a cellphone app or other method in case power is lost. Redundancy of methods is key, Smith said.

GIVE ME SHELTER

The ideal places to take shelter are enclosed, underground shelters and basements, or a safe room above ground that's designed to withstand tornadic winds.

But many people don't have that option — in Oklahoma, for example, the clay soil makes building basements expensive, so lots of homes don't have them.

If you have to be above ground in a tornado, “your goal is to put as many walls and barriers between you and the outside as you possibly can,” Smith said.

Smith recommends using mattresses, couch cushions or other sturdy items to protect yourself from deadly flying or falling debris. Bicycle or sports helmets can provide crucial head protection, and they can be stored in a convenient place so they are at the ready when you have just minutes or seconds to prepare. A car seat can help protect a small child, Smith says, and can be brought inside ahead of time.

CLOSE THE DOORS

Recent research has shown that closing your home's garage door and all interior doors could ease the high winds somewhat by compartmentalizing them, according to Smith. Doing so is is recommended during thunderstorms and tornadoes by the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety.

That's the opposite of a commonly held misconception: “There's still a chunk of people out there who think you're supposed to open the doors and windows to equalize the pressure,” Smith said.

It's also important to prepare for the tornado's aftermath, when you might emerge from a home or shelter to find downed trees and power lines and shredded buildings. Dress for disaster, such as wearing long pants and sturdy shoes, to make it easier to safely navigate the treacherous terrain.

An emergency kit of essentials like drinking water and nonperishable food items is also a good idea.

ON THE ROAD

Smith anticipates fielding questions about how to seek shelter when driving, since the trailer for the upcoming Hollywood film “Twisters” shows the characters sprinting toward a highway underpass as a tornado approaches.

If you are in a car or truck, “you really don't have a lot of good options at that point,” Smith said. “Try not to get caught in that situation.”

The best thing to do is get off the road and try to find a building. If there's nowhere to go, there are no guaranteed safe options.

When it comes to ditches, overpasses or staying inside a car, “people have survived doing all of those, people have died doing all of those,” Smith said. “I've seen cars rolled up into unrecognizable balls of metal.”

Independent readers are independently-minded global citizens. They are not defined by traditional demographics or profiles, but by their attitudes. In today’s increasingly fragmented world, communities value real facts and frank opinions delivered first-hand from a non-biased news brand that they can trust. Armed with information and inspiration, Independent readers are empowered and equipped to take a stand for the things they believe in.

OTHER NEWS

13 minutes ago

BlackRock Says AI Could Be the 'Biggest Uncertainty We've Faced'

13 minutes ago

JK Rowling accuses Sir Keir Starmer of ‘abandoning women’

13 minutes ago

Who Has Won The Most Open Championship Titles?

13 minutes ago

Promising Red Sox youngster is worth every penny of extension

13 minutes ago

The Best St. Louis Blues Picks in Each Round of the NHL Draft: Fourth Round

13 minutes ago

Ex-Bronco Blasts Russell Wilson for Not Being Accountable in Denver Downfall

13 minutes ago

Browns' Stefanski Reveals How Tillman Improved During Minicamp

13 minutes ago

Tourist bucks weigh in with record economy boost

14 minutes ago

iPhone got too hot? Here’s how to keep your device from overheating in scorching temps

14 minutes ago

Pulisic: Time for USMNT to prove ourselves at Copa América

14 minutes ago

Barry Sanders says he experienced heart-related health scare

14 minutes ago

Shipping containers repurposed as cooling stations by Tucson housing assistance group

15 minutes ago

Leeds pay touching tribute to Rob Burrow with victory against Leigh

15 minutes ago

World Economic Forum: Slow progress in the global energy transition

15 minutes ago

Cricket-India need to manage Bumrah smartly, says skipper Rohit

15 minutes ago

Springboks v Wales: Stats, facts and team photo

15 minutes ago

South Korea to make ‘big mistake’ by arming Ukraine, warns Putin

15 minutes ago

Why these three ASX All Ords stocks are leading the charge higher this week

15 minutes ago

Israel told Palestinians in Rafah to flee to a 'humanitarian area'. This is what life is like inside

15 minutes ago

Chloe Bailey Says Her Music Is Categorized As R&B Because She's Black: ‘That's Just the Way It's Always Been'

15 minutes ago

Rishi Sunak threatens National Service refusal penalties

18 minutes ago

Dallas Parks works to clean encampments from city parks and trails

20 minutes ago

Who is Amy Scott" Meet 'hero' police officer who stopped Bondi attacker Joel Cauchi as she is honoured with Valour award

21 minutes ago

NYC food delivery workers slam ‘greedy apps’ over tips, safety during heated City Council hearing

21 minutes ago

UK chicken megafarms which release toxic gases could keep expanding under Labour

21 minutes ago

Jack Draper pinpoints next steps as Queen’s campaign comes to tough end

21 minutes ago

Norfolk Southern said ahead of the NTSB hearing that railroads will examine vent and burn decisions

21 minutes ago

LARRY KUDLOW: The affordability crisis will be front and center at the presidential debate

21 minutes ago

France stay on course while not risking Mbappe

21 minutes ago

Long-lost Assyrian camp recently found supports Biblical account, expert says

21 minutes ago

Post misquotes Biden's mention of Vietnam in interview | Fact check

21 minutes ago

Cher Surprises Crowd at The Abbey, Celebrating Its Relaunch With New Owner Tristan Schukraft

21 minutes ago

Canada's Gee, Houle and Boivin named to Israel-Premier Tech's Tour de France team

21 minutes ago

Dior’s Cats and Dogs: Kim Jones Unleashes a Star-Studded, Art-Inspired Paris Collection

21 minutes ago

Bahrain Cracks Down on Fake Citizenship Applications

21 minutes ago

Report: Mariners plan to be aggressive in adding offense

21 minutes ago

The top 16 Jane Austen adaptations, from Pride and Prejudice to Persuasion

21 minutes ago

Trump judge presses his attorneys on ‘shadow government’ claims in Jack Smith hearing

21 minutes ago

Soccer-Serbia fans in Munich chant anti-Kosovo slogans

24 minutes ago

Family outraged by possible plea deals offered in beating death of grandfather