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TornadoesTornadoes — Useful Links and ResourcesUseful links about tornadoes and lightningFacts About TornadoesTwisters, cyclones, waterspouts, whatever you might know them as – tornadoes are the Earth's most violent storms. Here is a definition of tornadoes plus links to Web sites to learn more.When a Tornado Watch or Warning Is IssuedBe safe, be smart. A WATCH means a tornado is possible in your area. A WARNING means a tornado has been sighted and may be headed for your area.Creating a Tornado Emergency PlanPlan now so you and your family will be safe.

Creating a Tornado Emergency Plan

Plan now so you and your family will be safe.

Plan ahead.

Have a family learning session on tornadoes by reading Facts About Tornadoes.

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.

Know the top tips and steps to take when a tornado watch or warning is issued

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.

Plan in advance where to go if you are asked to evacuate your home. 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 American 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.

Complete your WHN Contact List. [WHN page link TK] Print copies of the Emergency Information Contact Section [WHN page link TK] 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. [WHN page link TK]

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.

Emergency Preparedness Items

Prepare a readily available and fully stocked Home Disaster Preparedness Kit.

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 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).

WHN Tip: 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 American 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 use your cell phone to look for "ICE": who to contact In Case of an Emergency. Here's how to do it. [WHN page link TK]

Buy extra fire extinguishers, teach each family member how to use them and have a central place to keep them.

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." Or head to Emergency and Disaster Services and Tornadoes — Useful Links and Resources for additional resources.

Prepare a Home Inventory

Create a household inventory - videotape, photograph or compile a written inventory of your home and belongings. (See Create a Home Inventory List.) 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 Home Grab-and-Go Kit with cash, copies of important documents and records, photos and contact information.

Look into insurance. Go to our Insurance section and read Am I Covered? Home Insurance Questions and Insurance Riders Do I Need One?.

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.

TornadoesTornadoes — Useful Links and ResourcesUseful links about tornadoes and lightningFacts About TornadoesTwisters, cyclones, waterspouts, whatever you might know them as – tornadoes are the Earth's most violent storms. Here is a definition of tornadoes plus links to Web sites to learn more.When a Tornado Watch or Warning Is IssuedBe safe, be smart. A WATCH means a tornado is possible in your area. A WARNING means a tornado has been sighted and may be headed for your area.Creating a Tornado Emergency PlanPlan now so you and your family will be safe.