There is no such thing as guaranteed safety inside a tornado. Freak accidents happen; and the most violent tornadoes can level and blow away almost any house and its occupants. Extremely violent EF5 tornadoes are very rare, though. Most tornadoes are actually much weaker and can be survived using these safety ideas...
* Prevention and practice before the storm: At home, have a family tornado plan in place, based on the kind of dwelling you live in and the safety tips below. Know where you can take shelter in a matter of seconds, and practice a family tornado drill at least once a year. Have a pre-determined place to meet after a disaster. Flying debris is the greatest danger in tornadoes; so store protective coverings (e.g., mattress, sleeping bags, thick blankets, etc) in or next to your shelter space, ready to use on a few seconds' notice. When a tornado watch is issued, think about the drill and check to make sure all your safety supplies are handy. Turn on local TV, radio or NOAA Weather Radio and stay alert for warnings.
Forget about the old notion of opening windows to equalize pressure; the tornado will blast open the windows for you! If you shop frequently at certain stores, learn where there are bathrooms, storage rooms or other interior shelter areas away from windows, and the shortest ways to get there. All administrators of schools, shopping centers, nursing homes, hospitals, sports arenas, stadiums, mobile home communities and offices should have a tornado safety plan in place, with easy-to-read signs posted to direct everyone to a safe, closeby shelter area. Schools and office building managers should regularly run well-coordinated drills. If you are planning to build a house, especially east of the Rockies, consider an underground tornado shelter or an interior "safe room".
* Know the signs of a tornado: Weather forecasting science is not perfect and some tornadoes do occur without a tornado warning. There is no substitute for staying alert to the sky. Besides an obviously visible tornado, here are some things to look and listen for:
WHAT TO DO...
* In a house with a basement: Avoid windows. Get in the basement and under some kind of sturdy protection (heavy table or work bench), or cover yourself with a mattress or sleeping bag. Know where very heavy objects rest on the floor above (pianos, refrigerators, waterbeds, etc.) and do not go under them. They may fall down through a weakened floor and crush you. Head protection, such as a helmet, can offer some protection also.
* In a house with no basement, a dorm, or an apartment: Avoid windows. Go to the lowest floor, small center room (like a bathroom or closet), under a stairwell, or in an interior hallway with no windows. Crouch as low as possible to the floor, facing down; and cover your head with your hands. A bath tub may offer a shell of partial protection. Even in an interior room, you should cover yourself with some sort of thick padding (mattress, blankets, etc.), to protect against falling debris in case the roof and ceiling fail. A helmet can offer some protection against head injury.
* In a mobile home: Get out! Even if your home is tied down, it is not as safe as an underground shelter or permanent, sturdy building. Go to one of those shelters, or to a nearby permanent structure, using your tornado evacuation plan. Most tornadoes can destroy even tied-down mobile homes; and it is best not to play the low odds that yours will make it. This mobile-home safety video from the State of Missouri may be useful in developing your plan.
* At school: Follow the drill! Go to the interior hall or room in an orderly way as you are told. Crouch low, head down, and protect the back of your head with your arms. Stay away from windows and large open rooms like gyms and auditoriums.
* In a car or truck: Vehicles are extremely risky in a tornado. There is no safe option when caught in a tornado in a car, just slightly less-dangerous ones. If the tornado is visible, far away, and the traffic is light, you may be able to drive out of its path by moving at right angles to the tornado. Seek shelter in a sturdy building, or runderground if possible. If you are caught by extreme winds or flying debris, park the car as quickly and safely as possible -- out of the traffic lanes. Stay in the car with the seat belt on. Put your head down below the windows; cover your head with your hands and a blanket, coat, or other cushion if possible. If you can safely get noticeably lower than the level of the roadway,leave your car and lie in that area, covering your head with your hands. Avoid seeking shelter under bridges, which can create deadly traffic hazards while offering little protection against flying debris.
* In the open outdoors: If possible, seek shelter in a sturdy building. If not, lie flat and face-down on low ground, protecting the back of your head with your arms. Get as far away from trees and cars as you can; they may be blown onto you in a tornado.
AFTER THE TORNADO...
Keep your family together and wait for emergency personnel to arrive. Carefully render aid to those who are injured. Stay away from power lines and puddles with wires in them; they may still be carrying electricity! Watch your step to avoid broken glass, nails, and other sharp objects. Stay out of any heavily damaged houses or buildings; they could collapse at any time. Do not use matches or lighters, in case of leaking natural gas pipes or fuel tanks nearby. Remain calm and alert, and listen for information and instructions from emergency crews or local officials.
Storm Prediction Center
Reset set out for what was to be a typical Monday, all crews were out doing our normal business. Some guys were cleaning up from a water damage, others were out repairing a home that had just gone thru a mold remediation and then BOOM!, we get a call from one of our best clients informing us that they have a fire going on currently on a 24 unit apartment building and they are going to need our help.
There is a large firewall in the center of the building that helped and did not allow the building to burn completely. So immediately we contact our crews to alert them of the situation, when they wrap up what they were working on they were to be on call. We could not get into the building immediately because it was still on fire. While on site with the property owner we map out our plan of attack. First we gather board-up materials at our shop and from our supplier so that when the fire department leaves we can secure the building. We have our crews on site within the hour we were released to enter the building to begin securing the property. Thank goodness no one was injured.
We also installed temporary fencing around the building being that the building was part of a complex that housed many residents, and as you can imagine the fire breeds curiosity. Day 2 began with helping the residents that did not lose all of their belongings retrieve what was salvageable so that we could begin the clean up process. By the time we were able to work this day, it was nearly dark. Day 3 began with demo and setting up drying equipment. The Tulsa Fire Department did a great job of putting out this blaze, however, to do this they had to use a lot of water. The building was soaked! Walls, ceilings, floors and so on, all WET! If water has the chance to sit for to long we could be facing another big hurdle, MOLD! Mold can begin growing within 24-72 hours. There were 12 units on one side of the building that incurred a lot of water damage but we knew we could save a majority of what was in place and avoid unnecessary demolition. We pride ourselves on being a company that tries to figure out a way to get a structure dry or repair damage without major demolition. We have lots of drying equipment that we had on the site, placed it in strategic locations and began the drying process. We had over 100 fans, several dehumidifiers, large generators for power and men moving everywhere. As we were drying the demolition was going on on the side of the building where the fire started. I would say that it was a successful dry being that we were able to get the humidity down quickly which helped with odor control very well. We were able to dry this side of the building which was saturated in a matter of a few days. In fact we dwindled down our equipment to just a few fans that were left on day 4. Day 5 we pulled all of the fans and dehumidifiers. We then continued to clean up all of the fire and smoke damaged materials that remained. All refrigerators, stoves and other appliances that could be salvaged were cleaned inside and out then placed into a storage container on site. We are currently on this project and will have updates to our status as we move forward. This was a large loss and as soon as we are turned loose to do the reconstruction I will update with this with our progress. If your business or home is damaged by fire or water, call Reset 918-582-7373, your property is our top priority.