Take a few minutes with your family to develop a tornado emergency plan. Sketch a floor plan of where you live or walk through each room and discuss where and how to seek shelter.
Identify a second way to exit from each room or area. If you need special equipment, such as a rope ladder, mark where it is located.
Make sure everyone understands the siren warning system, if there's such a system in your area.
Mark where your first aid kit and fire extinguishers are located.
Mark where the utility switches or valves are located so they can be turned off, if time permits, in an emergency.
Teach your family how to administer basic first aid, how to use a fire extinguisher and how and when to turn off water, gas and electricity in your home.
Learn the emergency dismissal policy for your child's school.
Make sure your children know:
What a tornado is.
What tornado watches and warnings are.
What county they live in (warnings are issued by county).
How to take shelter, whether at home or at school.
What To Do About Pets During Tornadoes
Make an emergency plan to keep pets safe during tornadoes. Find a kennel or crate for every animal you have and keep all the crates together in an easy-access location in your home.
Choose the safest room in the house for surviving a tornado.
Make an emergency food supply to keep on hand for pets, including canned foods and extra water. Pack a collar and leash for each dog and cat.
When a Tornado Siren Sounds or a Tornado Warning is Issued
Put all pets in cages or carriers and in the safe room when the tornado watch is issued.
Get all people to the safe room as soon as a tornado warning is issued or a siren is sounded.
Stay in the safe room for several minutes after the storm. Large tornadoes have a central eye, so more destruction could be coming. After several minutes of silence, carefully open the safe room door.
Leash all pets when outside after a tornado. Power lines could be down, and dangerous objects will be littered everywhere.
Tips & Warnings
Practice the emergency weather plan before bad weather strikes. Get pets used to kenneling or being caged during storms.
There are only seconds to act before a tornado strikes, so don't wait to put pets in carriers. Do it instantly and get them and your family in the safe room.
Extra Measures for People with Special Needs
Write down your specific needs, limitations, capabilities and medications. Keep this list near you always, such as in your purse or wallet.
Find someone nearby (a spouse, roommate, friend, neighbor, relative or co-worker) who will agree to assist you in case of an emergency. Give him or her a copy of your list. You may also want to provide a spare key to your home or directions to find a key.