You're in your house, your car, maybe your mobile home, and you've just heard a tornado warning announced for your area. What should you do now? Just as importantly, what shouldn't you do? Here are some dos and don'ts:
— If you are already inside a structure, go to a pre-designated shelter area such as a safe room, basement, storm cellar or the lowest building level. Avoid areas near windows.
— Listen to a NOAA Weather Radio, regular radio or television for tornado updates. (Battery-powered devices are best, in case the electricity goes out.)
— Crouch as low as possible to the floor, facing down. Cover the back of your head with your hands.
— If you're in a mobile home, get out, even if it's tied down. You're probably safer outside, even if that means seeking shelter out in the open.
— If you're outside with no shelter, lie flat in a ditch or depression and cover your head with your hands. Be aware of the potential for flooding.
— Don't use your car as shelter.
— Don't open the windows in your home. You may be exposed to flying glass if you're opening windows when the twister hits.
— Don't use elevators. You could get trapped if the power is lost.
— Don't go to the southwest corner of your shelter — most tornadoes approach from the southwest.
— Don't park under an overpass. It may seem like good shelter, but it can actually be more dangerous than open ground. A wind-tunnel effect can cause higher wind speeds, driving debris toward you and even propelling you out from under the overpass.
— Don't light candles, even after the storm has passed. Ruptured gas lines can create a fire hazard so it's better to use flashlights.