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Name: Shelby
Status: student
Age: 18
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: 11/21/2004

How can I protect myself from a tornado?


First, know where the nearest tornado shelter is and how to get there the quickest way. If you are not in a building with a designated tornado shelter (such as your home), go to a room in the middle of your house without windows or skylights, such as a small bathroom (and close the door), or go into the basement or a crawl space (this is the best place to be) and close the entrance to that space.

Second, familiarize yourself with the tornado siren signal in your town. These are usually tested once per month (first Tuesday usually). Your town emergency management supervisor or the fire department can provide you with more information on this. When you hear the siren, it means that severe weather is in your area; go to the tornado shelter with a radio so that you can hear about the weather situation on your local radio station.

Third, know when severe weather is possible in your area by watching the local weather report on TV or the Weather Channel if you have cable TV. When the National Weather Service issues severe weather warnings, they are usually broadcast on TV and on your local radio station. Another possibility is to get a weather radio (a lot of portable radios have a National Weather Service channel on them) and leave it on the "alarm" setting so when a weather alert or warning is issued the radio will automatically turn on.

If you are outside and a tornado is approaching, go to the nearest substantial building if there is one close by; do not try to outrun the tornado or drive from it. If there is no building nearby, find a low place (roadside ditch, gully, etc.) well away from buildings, your vehicle, and trees (being near a tree poses a danger from lightning), and lie down in the low area with your head covered.

David R. Cook
Atmospheric Physics and Chemistry Section
Environmental Research Division
Argonne National Laboratory

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