Creating A Tornado Emergency Plan
- Learn about tornadoes and teach your family about tornadoes.
- Read What is a Tornado? and When A Tornado Watch Or Warning Is Issued in our ARTICLES AND MORE section.
- Learn tornado-warning signs and your community’s alert signals by calling the mayor’s office. Each city has its own criteria for sounding alarms.
- Download the free Red Cross Tornado app, along with the Emergency app so you can monitor more than 35 different severe weather and emergency alerts.
- Create or locate a “safe room” in your home where family members can gather during a tornado.
- The location should be on the lowest floor of the building and have no windows, skylights or glass doors, which could be broken by strong winds or hail, causing damage or injury.
- Read 4 Things to Know About Residential Safe Rooms.
- Plan in advance where to go if you are asked to evacuate your home. Take some time to really think about it; consider more than one option such as a relative’s home, a hotel, or a shelter.
- Know where emergency shelters are located. Contact your local emergency management office or Red Cross for information on designated public shelters.
- Know the emergency response plan for your workplace, your children’s school or child care center, as well as other places where your family spends time (i.e. church, gym, rec center).
WHN TIP – Evacuating During Tornadoes: It is best NOT to evacuate during a tornado. However you may ,need to evacuate or head to a safer location if you live in a mobile home or a high-rise. Follow your building management and local law enforcement’s instructions on evacuating.
- Print out and fill in your WHN Contact Lists. Print copies of the Emergency Information Contact Section and keep them by your phones for easy access.
- Ask an out-of-state friend to be your “family contact.” After a disaster, it’s often easier to call long distance.
- Meet with neighbors either informally or through a neighborhood group to create a neighborhood preparedness plan.
- Make a note of neighbors or nearby relatives who may require extra assistance. Write down their names and phone numbers, if you don’t have them already. Keep this list with your emergency kit or your emergency contact list.
- Always have extra cash on hand (at least $100 or so) because ATMs and credit card machines won’t work if there is no electricity.
- Download the free RedCross first aid mobile app – just in case!
Emergency Preparedness Items
- Prepare a readily available and fully stocked Home Disaster Preparedness Kit. (Click on the list for a printable list to print out.)
WHN TIP – Disaster Kit Drill: Pick a night when everyone is home. Turn off the TV and lights, don’t use the faucets, fridge or the stove. Check and see what items are missing (special needs for family members, can opener, etc.). Make a list and add these items to your kit.
- Have a car emergency kit. Include water, first aid, and a way to signal the need for help, flashlight & batteries, warm blankets, a shovel, and a battery-operated radio.
- Add a NOAA Weather Radio to your home and car emergency kits.
- If there is a severe warning in your area, a NOAA Weather Radio automatically turns on and alerts you with beeps and sirens. It even alerts you if the power is out (the radios have battery back-up).
- Look for NOAA radios with “SAME” feature (Specific Area Message Encoding) which means the receiver is capable of turning itself on from a silent mode.
- Consider enrolling yourself and/or family members in first aid and emergency preparedness courses such as those offered by the Red Cross.
- Adult family members should know how to turn off the water, gas and electricity at the main valves or switches. Family members should also know CPR, how to help someone who is choking and first aid for severe bleeding and shock.
WHN TIP – In Case of Emergency (ICE): In the event of an emergency or after an accident, emergency personnel will use your cell phone to look for “ICE”: who to contact In Case of an Emergency.
- Buy extra fire extinguishers and teach each family member how to use them and have a central place to keep it.
Your Home and Property
We’ve pulled together a quick list of indoor and outdoor precautions you can take to improve your “shelter from the storm.” Read “4 Steps to Prepare Your Home for a Natural Disaster” for advice.
- Create a household inventory – videotape, photograph or compile a written inventory of your home and belongings. This will make it easier to file an insurance claim.
- Update your inventory every two to three years, with every major purchase, or if significant home or property renovations are made.
- Prepare a Master Information Box which contains copies of important documents and records, photos and contact information.
- Look into insurance. Read our Insurance section for more advice.
Thank You …
A special thank you to the first responders, emergency workers, government officials, lawyers, insurance agents and people who gave us their time, insight and real-life advice.