Spawned from powerful thunderstorms or hurricanes, tornadoes can cause fatalities and devastate neighborhoods in seconds. A tornado appears as a rotating, funnel-shaped cloud that extends from a thunderstorm to the ground with whirling winds that can reach 300 mph. Damage paths can be in excess of a single mile wide and 50 miles long. Some tornadoes are clearly visible, while rain or nearby clouds obscure others. Occasionally, tornadoes develop so rapidly that little, if any, advance warning is possible. Before a tornado hits, the wind may die down and the air may become very still. A cloud of debris can mark the location of a tornado even if a funnel is not visible. Tornadoes generally occur near the trailing edge of a thunderstorm. It is not uncommon to see clear, sunlit skies behind a tornado. To prepare for tornado season 2022 in your community, consider the following guidance.
Before Tornado Season 2022
There are some simple steps you can take to protect your home and family from tornadoes:
- Build an emergency kit and develop a family communication plan.
- Monitor your cellphone, the radio and the television for the latest information regarding local tornado risks. In any emergency, always listen to the instructions given by local officials.
- Be alert to changing weather conditions. Look for approaching storms.
- Look for the following danger signs:
- A dark, often greenish sky
- Large hail
- A large, dark, rotating cloud
- A loud roar
If you see any danger signs or an approaching storm, be prepared to take shelter immediately.
During a Tornado
If you are under a tornado warning, seek shelter immediately. Most injuries associated with high winds are from flying debris, so remember to protect your head.
|If you are:||Then:|
|In a structure (e.g., a residence, small building, school, nursing home, hospital, factory, shopping center or high-rise building)|| – Go to a pre-designated shelter area such as a safe room, basement, storm cellar or the lowest building level. If there is no basement, go to the center of a room on the lowest level (e.g., closet, interior hallway) away from corners, windows, doors and outside walls. Put as many walls as possible between you and the outdoors. Get under a sturdy table and use your arms to protect your head and neck.|
– In a high-rise building, go to a small interior room or hallway on the lowest floor possible.
– Put on sturdy shoes.Do not open any windows.
|In a trailer or mobile home||– Get out immediately and go to the lowest floor of a nearby sturdy building or a storm shelter. Mobile homes, even if tied down, offer little protection from tornadoes.|
|Outside with no shelter|| – Immediately get into a vehicle, buckle your seat belt and try to drive to the closest sturdy shelter.|
– If your vehicle is hit by flying debris while you are driving, safely pull over and park.
– Stay in the vehicle with your seatbelt on. Put your head down below the windows; cover your head with your hands and a blanket, coat or other cushion if possible.
– If you can safely get noticeably lower than the level of the roadway, leave your car and lie in that area, covering your head with your hands.
– Do not get under an overpass or bridge. You are safer in a low, flat location.
– Never try to outrun a tornado in a car or truck in urban or congested areas. Instead, leave the vehicle immediately for safe shelter.
– Watch out for flying debris. Flying debris from tornadoes causes most fatalities and injuries.
After a Tornado
Injuries may result from the direct impact of a tornado, or they may occur afterward when people walk among debris and enter damaged buildings. In fact, a study of injuries after a tornado in Marion, Illinois, showed that 50% of tornado-related injuries were suffered during rescue attempts, cleanup and other post-tornado activities. Nearly one-third of those injuries resulted from stepping on nails. Because tornadoes often damage power lines, gas lines and electrical systems, there is a risk of fire, electrocution or explosion. Protecting yourself and your family requires prompt treatment of any injuries suffered during the storm and the use of extreme care to avoid further hazards.
Do not attempt to move seriously injured people, unless they are in immediate danger of further injuries. Rather, get medical assistance immediately. If someone has stopped breathing, begin CPR—so long as you are trained to do so. To stop a bleeding injury, apply direct pressure to the wound. Have puncture wounds evaluated by a physician. If you are trapped, try to attract attention to your location.
General Safety Precautions for Tornado Season 2022
Here are some safety precautions that can help you avoid injury after tornado season 2022:
- Continue to monitor your cellphone, radio or television for emergency information.
- Be careful when entering any structure that has been damaged.
- Wear sturdy shoes or boots, long sleeves and gloves when handling or walking near debris.
- Be aware of hazards from sharp objects—such as exposed nails and broken glass.
- Do not touch downed power lines or objects in contact with these lines. Report electrical hazards to the police and the utility company.
- Use battery-powered lanterns rather than candles, if possible, to light homes without electrical power. If you use candles, make sure they are in safe holders and kept away from curtains, paper, wood or other flammable items. Never leave a candle burning when you are out of the room.
- Never use generators, pressure washers, grills, camp stoves or other gasoline-, propane-, natural gas- or charcoal-burning devices inside your home, basement, garage or camper—or even outside near an open window, door or vent. These devices can produce carbon monoxide (CO), an odorless, colorless gas that can cause sudden illness and death if it builds up inside your home. Seek prompt medical attention if you suspect CO poisoning and are feeling dizzy, light-headed or nauseated.
- Cooperate fully with local officials.
- Respond to requests for volunteer assistance by police, fire fighters, emergency management and relief organizations, but do not go into damaged areas unless assistance has been requested. Your presence could hamper relief efforts and you could endanger yourself.
Inspecting the Damage
You may be tempted to inspect the damage a tornado causes after a storm, but keep these safety tips in mind:
- After a tornado, be aware of possible structural, electrical or gas-leak hazards in your home. Contact your local city or county building inspectors for information on structural safety codes and standards. They may also offer suggestions on finding a qualified contractor to do work for you.
- In general, if you suspect any damage to your home, shut off electrical power, natural gas and propane tanks to avoid fires, electrocution or explosions.
- In the event that it is dark when you are inspecting your home, use a flashlight rather than a candle or torch to avoid the risk of fire or explosion in a damaged home.
- If you see frayed wiring or sparks, or if there is an odor of something burning, you should immediately shut off the electrical system at the main circuit breaker if you have not done so already.
- If you smell gas or suspect a leak, turn off the main gas valve, open all windows and leave the house immediately. Notify the gas company, the police or fire department and do not turn on the lights, light matches, smoke or do anything that could cause a spark. Do not return to your house until you are told it is safe to do so.
Safety During Cleanup
Keep these points in mind when cleaning up after a tornado:
- Wear long sleeves, gloves, and sturdy shoes or boots.
- Learn proper safety procedures and operating instructions before operating any gas-powered or electric-powered saws or tools.
- Clean up spilled medicines, drugs, flammable liquids and other potentially hazardous materials.
Acentria Insurance is committed to helping you and your loved ones stay safe when disaster strikes. Protect yourself from tornado season 2022 with Acentria’s homeowner, and personal collections insurance, contact us today.