American Red Cross Shares Tornado Safety Tips

Tornado Safety Tips

Assemble a Disaster Supplies Kit

The first step in preparing for any type of disaster is to assemble a disaster supplies kit, which should include the following items:

  • A first aid kit and any essential medications.
  • Special items for infants, the elderly or disabled.
  • Canned food and a can opener.
  • At least three gallons of water per person.
  • Protective clothing, bedding or sleeping bags.
  • A battery-powered radio, flashlight and extra batteries.
  • Written instructions on how to turn off electricity, gas, and water if authorities advise you to do so. (Remember, you'll need a professional to turn natural gas service back on.)

Prepare a Home Tornado Plan

Pick a place where your family can gather if a tornado is headed your way. It can be a basement or a center hallway, bathroom, or closet on the lowest floor. Keep this place uncluttered. If you are in a high-rise building, you may not have enough time to get to the lowest floor, so pick a place in a hallway in the center of the building.

Stay Tuned for Storm Warnings

Listen to your local radio and TV stations for updated storm information and know the difference between a tornado WATCH and a tornado WARNING:

  • A tornado WATCH means a tornado is possible in your area.
  • A tornado WARNING means a tornado has been sighted and may be headed for your area. Go to safety immediately.
  • Tornado WATCHES and WARNINGS are issued by county or parish.

When a Tornado WATCH is Issued

  • Listen to local radio and TV stations for further updates.
  • Pay attention to changing weather conditions. You may see blowing debris or hear the sound of an approaching tornado. Many people say it sounds like a freight train.

When a Tornado WARNING is Issued

  • If you are inside, go to the safe place you designated to protect yourself from glass and other flying objects.
  • If you are outside, hurry to the basement of a nearby sturdy building, or lie flat in a ditch or low-lying area. If you are in a car or mobile home, get out immediately and head for safety.

After the Tornado Passes

  • Watch out for fallen power lines and stay out of damaged areas.
  • Listen to the radio for information and instructions.
  • Use a flashlight to inspect your home for damage.
  • Do not use candles at any time.

About the American Red Cross:

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies nearly half of the nation's blood; teaches lifesaving skills; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization - not a government agency - and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit or join our blog at Follow us on twitter @chicagoredcross

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