Office of Domestic Preparedness Blog

Preparedness Tip of the Month - During a Tornado

In January we covered what to do before a tornado. In February we will focus on what to do during a tornado. With tornadoes having the ability to touch down in a matter of minutes, Michigan residents need to be prepared to quickly react and launch an emergency plan. 

Inside:

  • If you are under a tornado warning, seek shelter immediately. If there is a tornado watch in your area, monitor local media and seek shelter when thunderstorms approach.

  • If you are in a building—like a home, small building, school or business—go to a pre-designated safe room, basement, storm shelter or the lowest building level. If there is no basement, go to the center of a smaller interior room, such as a closet or hallway, that is away from corners, windows, doors and outside walls.

  • Once you are in lower level room of a building, make sure to protect your head and neck.

  • Make sure to bring your emergency preparedness kit to your pre-designated safe room to have emergency supplies ready in the event help cannot reach you right away.

  • If you live in a mobile home, exit the home and immediately go to a designated storm shelter. Even when mobile homes are tied down, they offer very little protection from a tornado.

Outside:

  • If you are outside during a tornado, the only safe location is a sturdy permanent building. Seek that shelter immediately. Go to the lowest level and seek shelter in an interior room without any windows.

  • If you cannot get to a shelter, get to your vehicle and drive to the nearest shelter. If flying debris occurs while driving, pull over and park. Stay in the vehicle with your seatbelt on, covering your head and lying below the windows. If you can safely get to an area noticeably lower than the road, exit the vehicle and lie in that area covering your head with your hands.

  • DO NOT seek shelter under an overpass or bridge. These are some of the most dangerous locations and you will be exposed to flying debris.

  • Stay away from objects that can be easily blown around. Most people injured from tornados from flying debris.

  • If you are boating, go to land and seek shelter immediately.

Walt Grech