How to prepare for a tornado
- An approaching cloud of debris can indicate a tornado, even if you cannot see a funnel. The wind may die and the air can be quite still before a tornado.
- Tornadoes can occur anywhere in and generally last less than one hour (seconds to minutes is the most likely).
Tornado watch vs. warning
- A tornado watch means conditions are favourable for the development of severe thunderstorms with one or more tornadoes.
- A tornado warning means a tornado has been reported; or when there is reliable evidence based on radar or a reliable spotter that a tornado is imminent.
Staying safe during a tornado
- Take shelter in the basement or lowest level of your home or building immediately:
- Find a small interior room with no windows, like a closet or under the stairs, and stay near the wall under a sturdy piece of furniture.
- Put as many walls as possible between yourself and the outside for protection.
- If you are instructed to evacuate, bring your 72-hour emergency kit and emergency contact list to the reception centre or shelter.
- If you are outside and can't get indoors, find a low-lying area like a ditch. Cover your head with your hands and avoid overpasses or bridges.
- Be aware of debris and flying objects.
- Avoid buildings with large-span roofs such as shopping malls and auditoriums.
- If you are in a car, do not try to outrun a tornado. Leave your vehicle immediately and find an indoor shelter or low-lying area like a ditch.
- If you are in a mobile home, leave immediately as they offer little protection from tornadoes. Get to the lowest point inside the closest safe, sturdy building.
After a tornado
- Follow the instructions of the authorities.
- Check in at any reception centres or shelters that have been set up so you can be accounted for and reunified with any missing family members.
- Do not go into damaged areas. There may be structural damage that may or may not be visible.
- Be aware that debris can present hazards – tripping, puncture wounds, collapsing structures, etc.
- Watch for sharp objects like nails and glass.
- Injuries due to tornadoes are often caused after the tornado has ended, when walking among and cleaning up debris.
- Watch out for downed power lines or ruptured gas lines. If you smell natural gas, get away from the source and notify authorities of a gas leak.
- Check to see if you or others are injured.
- Do not move seriously injured or trapped people unless they are in immediate danger of further injury (such as from a collapsing structure).
- Seek medical assistance for them as soon as possible.
- Stay informed:
- Continue to monitor local weather information, preferably from battery-powered or wind-up radios.
- Use battery powered lights or lanterns, rather than candles, to light a home.
- Use battery powered lights or lanterns, rather than candles, to light a home. Open flames can be dangerous if gas lines are compromised.
- Never use generators, camp stoves, or other fuel-burning appliances inside.
- Carbon monoxide, a clear, colorless, and odourless gas, can be emitted from these appliances and causes illness or death.
- Open flames can be dangerous if gas lines are compromised.