Tips for preparing for, staying safe during tornadoes

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With warmer weather approaching, severe weather is possible in Michigan, including tornadoes.


To prepare for tornadoes, Emergency Management and Homeland Security suggests residents should identify the safest location in the lowest level of their home, determine a communication plan between family in the event of a tornado and know the safest areas to be at work or school.

Read more: Severe Weather Safety Tips

When determining a shelter, be sure to plan how local weather and news can be monitored in the shelter. Also, prepare an emergency kit.

If severe weather is coming, move and secure lawn furniture and other outdoor objects. Also, make sure cell phones are charged.

Signs of a tornado 

Signs of a tornado include a dark, green-tinted sky, large hail, dark, low-hanging clouds, loud roars and severe storms.

According to Emergency Management and Homeland Security, tornadoes tend to occur in the late spring and early summer between 3 p.m. and 9 p.m.

During a tornado 

Shelter should be sought either in the lowest level of the home, or most interior room if there is no basement. Stay away from windows, doors and objects that can easily be blown away. If necessary, use a pillow or blanket to protect your head from glass.

If you are in the car during a tornado, Emergency Management and Homeland Security offers two courses of action to take based on your surroundings.

If there is a way to safely get lower than the roadway, lie in that area with your hands covering your head. Otherwise, stay in the car with your seat belt on and put your head below the windows covered with your hands or a blanket.

Seek designated shelter areas if you are in public.

If you are on a boat, immediately go to land and seek shelter.

After a tornado

When the tornado has passed, inspect your home, property and vehicles for damage. Be sure to check for electrical problems and gas leaks. If damage is suspected, shut off power, natural gas and propane tanks.

Avoid downed power lines and report downed lines.

Also, check your food supply and preparedness kit. Restock any supplies that were used during the storm.

When cleaning up debris, wear sturdy shoes, gloves and long sleeves.

Statewide drill

A statewide tornado drill will be held April 19 at 1 p.m. Businesses, families and organizations are encouraged to participate. Nearly all state of Michigan facilities will participate.

The drill will be rescheduled for April 20 at 1 p.m. if there is severe weather.

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