How to protect yourself when a tornado arrives

The National Weather Service has some recommendations on what to do when a tornado is spotted nearby:

• Have a predetermined plan of where the safest shelter is at work, at home or at another frequently visited location.

• The safest shelter location is an interior room without windows in the lowest level of a building. If your shelter has a basement, head for it immediately.

• Other safe locations for businesses and schools include basements, hallways, underneath staircases, and designated tornado-safe rooms.

• Stay away from windows upstairs or in the basement to protect yourself from flying debris and glass if a tornado hits.

• Take a battery-operated weather radio with you to the shelter. If you don’t have a weather radio, take a conventional portable radio with you and tune into a local station with weather information. Stay in the safest place in your home or other shelter until the all clear is announced.

• Avoid taking shelter in a room with a large open roof. Don’t take shelter in a big cafeteria, gymnasium or any large open room, including big open stores, because the roof might collapse under high winds.

• Anyone in a mobile home should seek shelter in a nearby building.

• Motorists should stop the vehicle and take shelter in a nearby building.

• Don’t seek shelter under a highway overpass. An overpass’s under-the-girder-type construction can cause a dangerous wind tunnel effect. In some cases bridges have collapsed, killing or injuring those seeking shelter under them.

• If a motorist is in a rural area and spots a tornado, driving away from the tornado’s path may be the safest option if the tornado is far away. But if a tornado is bearing down on you, stop your vehicle off the traveled section of the roadway and seek a sturdy shelter or lie flat in a ditch or other low spot. Cover yourself with a coat or blanket to help protect yourself from flying debris. Be prepared to move quickly in case the ditch fills with water.

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