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It is advised to keep extremely alert after a tornado watch has been issued, especially if the weather is very warm, humid, and oppressive, with dark thunderclouds in the western and northern sky.
- Make sure your carís gas tank is full.
- Be aware of changing weather conditions, especially darkening skies, rain, and rising wind. If you see a funnel cloud, you could have no more than five minutes to get to shelter. If you can actually hear the tornado, you have only a few seconds.
- If you are on a beach, watch for incoming waves.
- Leave low areas because there might be flooding or high tides.
- Listen for tornado watch updates and news.
- If in the water or a boat, go to shore and find shelter.
- Make sure all water vehicles are secure.
- Put indoors or secure all outside furniture, barbecues, toys, etc.
- Nail boards across windows and tape them over so that wind pressure doesnít shatter the panes.
- Secure animals (and people!)
- Make sure your documents and important files are secure.
- Learn how to perform CPR and administer first aid.
- Attend community meetings and discuss what to do in the event of a disaster.
- Keep alert about storm advisories and updates.
- Check water, camping, emergency, and food supplies.
- Move valuables to the side of the house away from the wind.
- Have fresh batteries available for flashlights and portable radios.
- Store water in plastic bottles, jugs, pots, pans, and bathtubs.
- Try not to stay in a mobile home or R.V.
- Be prepared to evacuate and know where to go.
- Hide in a storm cellar if you have one. Shelters should contain blankets, bottled water, transistor radios and first-aid supplies.
- If there is no storm cellar or shelter available, crouch in the southwest corner of your basement. If there is no basement, lie out flat on the floor under heavy furniture or a bed. Some people have survived in bathtubs by pulling mattresses over themselves, or under stairwells or in closets.
- Surround yourself with a thick blanket for added protection.
- If you are outside, move away from the tornadoís path at a right angle.
- If you are outside, find shelter in a stairwell or culvert.
- Do not stay in a building with a freestanding roof, like an auditorium or gym.
- If the tornado is too close for you to find shelter, lie on the ground - in a ditch, ravine, or dip if possible.
- Stay indoors to weather the storm if your home is solidly built on high ground.
- Be careful to stay inside when the eye passes by. The calm center can take from minutes to half an hour to pass overhead, so donít be caught outdoors when the second half of the twister arrives!
- Stay in the lowest story of the building, away from windows and other breakable items.
- Get away from open areas and find shelter in interior hallways, reinforced rooms, or partitioned spaces. Get as many walls as possible between you and the storm.
- If you do not have a partitioned basement, go to the center of the room or hide beneath a stairwell.
- If you are outside, try to find shelter inside a building.
- If you are outdoors in a car, stop and find shelter inside a building, or hide in a ditch or ravine. Lie facedown and cover your head. Donít stand! You could be hit by broken glass, pipes, lumber, or other debris inside the funnel. Car drivers have tried to outrun moving tornadoes, but sudden changes in direction can trap the car and its occupants. A rolling, pitching, twisting vehicle is very dangerous.
- Donít leave your shelter until you hear that the tornado has ended or an all clear siren sounds.
- Check for injuries and help the wounded.
- Try not to drive. If you must, be cautious of collapsible roads and debris.
- Keep your ears open for updates and news, flood warnings, emergency medical centers, and shelter locations.
- If you need medical help, go to a Red Cross center.
- Keep out of the way of rescue crews.
- Be careful of loose electrical wires and report them to the right authorities.
- Watch out for broken water mains and sewer pipes. Report them to the companies.
- Keep away from rivers and streams in the event of flooding.
- Approach animals cautiously. Try to keep them controlled if possible.
- Put on heavy shoes and clothes, and urge others to do the same.
- Do not go into unstable-looking buildings.
- Check for gas leaks before lighting matches (and do so with caution!).
- Clean up spills.
- Do not use phones except for emergencies.
- Check outside, when it is safe, for damage, threatening cracks, or unstable beams.
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