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Tornados can strike at any time and can cause property devastation and death.

Here’s how to protect yourself against a tornado.

To experience the devastation of a tornado is a frightening and almost surreal experience. Not only can these weather phenomenon cause property destruction, they can cause loss of life. If you spot an ominous appearing tornado cloud, you need to take action immediately. How can you protect yourself against the ravages of a tornado?

Fortunately, there are steps you can take to minimize your risk of injury. If there’s a tornado watch or warning in your area, you should tune in immediately to your local television or radio station to follow updated weather reports. If they mention your area is under a tornado watch, it means conditions in your area are ripe for the development of a tornado, although no eminent threat is apparent. If a tornado warning is sounded, this means an actual tornado has been spotted and you need to seek shelter immediately.

If you need to seek shelter, where should you go? If you’re at home, you should isolate yourself, your family, and pets in a room with no windows, preferably on the ground floor of your home. A bathroom or closet is a good choice, particularly if you have a room that’s been fortified by steel or concrete to offer extra protection. Once inside the room, look for something heavy to place over yourself to protect yourself against falling debris. Crawling under a workbench or other anchored table will work. In a pinch, you can place a large metal trash can over yourself or get under a heavy mattress.

If you’re out on the road when a funnel cloud is spotted, try to drive out of the path of the impending tornado. This is controversial as some people believe it’s too difficult to out drive the tornado and you’re best to seek immediate shelter. If this isn’t possible, leave your car and head for a heavy, well constructed building. If no shelter or building is available as a tornado approaches, lie flat on the ground in as low a spot as possible. If you can crawl into a ditch, this can offer some protection. You never want to stay in your car since cars can be easily tossed around by the powerful winds. It’s also best to avoid standing under a bridge since the bridge may collapse.

If you don’t have a current tornado plan in place, you should design one in case you’re confronted with this weather phenomenon in the future. Have a specified room in your home designated as the tornado shelter.

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