Reading to your child should begin prior to deliveryDo daily after delivery for years to come. 

by Irwin J. Kash, MD

Tornadoes Can Occur Without a Hurricane

Tornado Safety

Learn how to stay safe during a tornado, and how to improve your home’s ability to withstand tornadoes.

  • Find a safe room built to withstand high winds. The next best protection is a small room with no windows on the lowest level of a sturdy building.
  • Mobile, manufactured, trailer homes and recreational vehicles (RVs) are not safe in high wind events. Plan ahead by finding a sturdy building to shelter in before a tornado watches or warning.

What Should You Do if You’re Outside When There is a Tornado

  • Outside: Seek shelter inside a sturdy building immediately if a tornado is approaching. If that’s not possible, lie flat and face down on low ground, protecting the back of your head with your arms, advised the Storm Prediction Center. Get as far away from trees and cars as you can. 
  • In a car:  Being in a vehicle during a tornado is not safe. There is no safe option when caught in a tornado in a car, just slightly less-dangerous ones, according to the Storm Prediction Center. Do not try to outrun a tornado. Get out of your vehicle, or bus or truck because they are easily tossed. Exit it.  Seek shelter away from it in a nearby ditch or ravine. Do not get underneath a car, you can get crushed.  If, however, you can clearly see that it’s going in a different direction, try to get away from it at the right and correct angles to ensure that it’s not catching up to you.  If you are caught by extreme winds or flying debris, park the car as quickly as possible, out of traffic lanes.  Stay in the car with seatbelt on.  Put your head down below the windows and cover your head with your hands and a blanket, coat or other cushions, if possible, to protect from potential broken glass
  • Because tunnels lack 4 walls and bridges have no walls, they do not protect you from a tornado’s wind, making it a more dangerous place to be.

Plan to Stay Connected

  • Emergency alerts are available in your phone’s Settings app. By default, Government alerts are turned on for your device. 
  • Plan to monitor local weather and news or to a NOAA Weather Radio 
  • Have a backup battery or a way to charge your cell phone.
  • In case of a power outage, have a battery-powered radio.
  • Know the difference:
    • Tornado Watch: Be Prepared! Tornadoes are possible in and near the watch area. Be ready to act fast!
    • Tornado Warning: Take Action! A tornado is nearby. There is danger. Move to safe location right away.
  • You may not always receive a tornado warning. Know the signs of a tornado. Take shelter if you feel you are in danger.

Gather Emergency Supplies

  • Gather food, water, and medicine.  Stores and pharmacies might be closed. Organize supplies into a Go-Kit and a Stay-at-Home-Kit:
    • Go-Kit: at least 3 days of supplies that you can carry with you. Include batteries and chargers for your devices (cell phone, CPAP, wheelchair, etc.)
    • Stay-at-Home Kit: at least 2 weeks of supplies.
  • Have a 1-month supply of medication in a child-proof container, and other needed medical supplies or equipment.
  • Keep personal, financial, and medical records safe and easy to access (hard copies or securely backed up). Consider keeping a list of your medications and dosages on a small card to carry with you.

Learn Emergency Skills

  • Hands-Only CPR for Adults

If you are not trained in full CPR, Hands-only CPR is CPR without rescue breaths, which is simple to learn and easy to remember, especially outside medical settings. It increases the likelihood of surviving cardiac arrest, when the heart stops beating or beats too ineffectively to circulate blood to the brain and other vital organs. For a refresher any time, you can print this page and keep it with the rest of your first-aid supplies.

Before Giving CPR

  1. Check the scene and the person. Check to make sure the scene is safe, tap the person on the shoulder to see if they’re OK, and look for signs of rhythmic, normal breathing.
  2. Call 911 for assistance. If there’s no response from the victim when asked if he or she is OK, call 911, or ask a bystander to call for help.
  3. Begin compressions. If the person is unresponsive, perform hands-only CPR.

How to Perform Hands-Only CPR

  1. Ensure the person is on their back on a firm, flat surface
  2. Kneel beside the person. Your knees should be near the person’s body and spread about shoulder width apart
  3. Use correct hand placement. Place the heel of one hand in the center of their chest, with your other hand on top. Interlace your fingers and make sure they are up off the chest
  4. Use correct body position. Position your body so that your shoulders are directly over your hands. Lock your elbows to keep your arms straight. 
  5. Give continuous compressions. Push hard and fast (at least 2 inches; 100 to 120 compressions per minute).
  6. Allow chest to return to its normal position after each compression
  • Be ready to live without power. Utilities may be offline. Be ready to live without power, gas, and water. Plan for your electrical needs, including cell phones and medical equipment. Talk to your doctor. Plan for backup power.

Tornado Safety Tips

Tornadoes are nature’s most violent and erratic storms. A tornado can travel for miles along the ground, lift and suddenly change direction and strike again. There is little you can do to protect your home or workplace from the strength of tornado winds, but there are actions you can take to protect yourself and your family better.

Basic Safety Rules: 

Keep alert to changing weather conditions. Tornadoes are formed by severe thunderstorms, most frequently in the spring and summer. A tornado watch is given when weather is favorable to the formation of tornadoes. A tornado warning is given when a tornado funnel is sighted or indicated by radar. You should take shelter immediately. Because tornadoes can form and move quickly, there may not be time for a warning.

Take shelter immediately when you hear a tornado warning or see a funnel cloud. Most often, warnings will be given by local radio and television stations. In addition, some communities have sirens or whistles to warn of natural disasters. During a tornado watch, be prepared to take shelter immediately if conditions worsen.

Know where your shelter is before you need it. Although there is no guaranteed safe place during a tornado, some locations are better than others.

At Home 

Get to shelter immediately. AVOID WINDOWS. Flying glass can injure or kill. Don’t open windows. Allowing strong winds in can do damage or cause injury. The safest place in the home is an inside room on the lowest floor, like a closet, hallway, or bathroom with no windows. For added protection, get under something strong, like a workbench or heavy table. If possible, cover your body with a blanket or sleeping bag and protect your head with anything available, even your hands.

Mobile Homes 

Do not stay in a mobile home during a tornado. Even homes with a secure tie-down system cannot withstand the force of tornado winds. Plan ahead. Make arrangements to stay with friends or neighbors. Go there if a tornado watch is issued. If a tornado warning is given, leave your mobile home and seek shelter nearby. Lie flat in a ditch or ravine and put your arms over your head. Don’t take shelter under your home.

On the Road 

The least desirable place to be during a tornado is in a motor vehicle. Cars, buses, and trucks are tossed easily by tornado winds. Do not try to outrun a tornado in your car. If you see a tornado, stop your vehicle and get out. Seek shelter away from the car in a nearby ditch or ravine; do not get under your vehicle. Lie flat and put your arms over your head.

Long Span Buildings 

If you are caught in an open building like a shopping mall, civic center, indoor pool, theater, or gymnasium during a tornado, stay away from windows. Get into the restroom, if possible. In larger buildings, the restrooms are usually made from concrete block. Besides having four walls and plumbing holding things together, metal partitions help support any falling debris. If there is no time to go anywhere, seek shelter right where you are. Try to get up against something that will support or deflect falling debris. For instance, in a department store, get up against heavy shelving or counters. Remember to protect your head.

Schools, Hospitals, Nursing Homes, and Office Buildings 

Extra precautions are needed in these structures due to the large concentration of people in a small area, and these buildings typically have large amounts of glass on the outside walls. Get into the innermost portions on the lowest floor possible. Avoid windows, glass doorways, and auditoriums and cafeterias not protected by overhead floors and rooms. Do not use elevators; the power may go off and you could become trapped. Protect your head and make yourself as small a target as possible by crouching down.

In the Open 

If you are caught outside during a tornado and there is no shelter immediately available, lie in a gully, ditch, or low spot in the ground. Protect your body and head with anything available. Do not go into a grove of trees or under a vehicle.

Emergency services personnel are usually on the scene quickly after a tornado. Keep your family together and wait for help to arrive. Listen to the radio for information about disaster relief and assistance available from local authorities and volunteer agencies. If you are outside, don’t go into damaged buildings; they may collapse completely. Wait for help to search for others. If your home appears undamaged, check carefully for gas or other utility line breaks. If the lights are out, use a flashlight only; do not use a match, lighter, or any open flame.

By following these suggested safety tips, you can increase your chances for survival.

In a car or truck: Vehicles are extremely risky in a tornado. There is no safe option when caught in a tornado in a car, just slightly less-dangerous ones. If the tornado is visible, far away, and the traffic is light, you may be able to drive out of its path by moving at right angles to the tornado. Seek shelter in a sturdy building, or underground if possible. If you are caught by extreme winds or flying debris, park the car as quickly and safely as possible — out of the traffic lanes. Stay in the car with the seat belt 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. Avoid seeking shelter under bridges or short tunnels. These will increase the wind, which can create deadly hazards while offering little protection against flying debris.

In the open outdoors: If possible, seek shelter in a sturdy building. If not, lie flat and face-down on low ground, protecting the back of your head with your arms. Get as far away from trees and cars as you can; they may be blown onto you in a tornado.

 In a shopping mall or large store: Do not panic. Watch for others. Move as quickly as possible to an interior bathroom, storage room or other small, enclosed area, away from windows.

 In a church or theater: Do not panic. If possible, move quickly but orderly to an interior bathroom or hallway, away from windows. Crouch face-down and protect your head with your arms. If there is no time to do that, get under the seats or pews, protecting your head with your arms or hands.