More than 500 tornados have ravaged much of the nation this spring, from the Plains States and the Upper South to the Midwest and the East Coast, wreaking billions in damage and killing 43 people.
These deadly storms often sweep in with little or no warning. Taking some basic precautions can help your employees (and you) stay safe if a tornado strikes.
First, know the difference between a tornado watch and a tornado warning. A tornado watch means that a windstorm is likely to occur in the watch area. Be ready to act quickly, take shelter, check supply kits, and monitor radio and television. A tornado warning means that the storm is in the immediate area. Take shelter at once!
An underground area, such as a basement or storm cellar, provides the best protection. If an underground shelter is unavailable:
- Seek a small interior room or hallway on the lowest floor possible. Rooms constructed with reinforced concrete, brick, or block with no windows, a heavy concrete floor, and a sturdy ceiling or roof makes the best shelters.
- Stay in the center of the room, away from doors, windows, outside walls and room corners (which can attract debris).
- Avoid auditoriums, cafeterias and gymnasiums that have flat, wide-span roofs.
If you’re in a vehicle in an area that’s noticeably lower than the road, get out of your vehicle and lie down, covering your head with your hands and forearms. Otherwise, stay in the vehicle with the seat belt on, and your head below the windows, covering it with your hands or a blanket.