#ImAForce – Tornado
March 3-9, 2013, is National Severe Weather Preparedness Week — and all week Preparis will be posting a series on the top severe weather concerns for businesses around the country. If you missed yesterday’s post on the threat of a winter storm, click here. Today, we’re focusing on severe thunderstorms and tornados. Tornado season officially begins in March in the Southeast and April in the Midwest. In 2012, more than 100 people were killed by tornadoes and over 500 the year before.
Signs of a Tornado
Tornadoes are often associated with thunderstorms, heavy rain or hail followed by very calm conditions or strong winds. They are often preceded by a greenish-black sky and as the system approaches, include loud rumbling lasting a few seconds and very fast cloud movement indicating high wind speeds in the upper atmosphere.
Preparing for a Tornado
Being aware of local weather alerts and understanding the difference between a tornado watch (tornadoes are possible in your area) and a tornado warning (tornadoes are occurring in your area) is important. Also important is ensuring you have an emergency kit prepared, including a NOAA or battery-powered radio to keep track of weather conditions if power is interrupted. Don’t forget to have spare batteries on hand as well.
If your area is under a tornado watch, you should stay tuned to local radio, TV stations or your NOAA weather radio. Do not assume your area has tornado warning sirens – watch the weather and be prepared to take shelter immediately if conditions worsen. If the weather alert announces a tornado warning, you should take shelter immediately.
If a Tornado Hits
At work: Go to the area designated in your tornado plan or an inner hallway or other small windowless, interior room.
At home: Go to the storm cellar, basement, or lowest level of the building. If there is no basement, go to an inner hallway or a smaller inner room away from windows. Get under a piece of sturdy furniture and hold on to it. Use your arms to protect your head and neck.
If you are outdoors: If possible, get inside a building. If shelter is not available lie in a ditch, low-lying area, or crouch near a strong building. Watch for flying debris and flooding. Use your arms to protect your head and neck.
If you are in a car: Never try to out-drive a tornado. Get out of the car immediately and take shelter in a nearby building. If there is no time to get indoors, get out of the car and lie in a ditch or low-lying area away from the vehicle. Watch for flying debris and flooding.
Following the Tornado
Be aware of new safety hazards created by the storm. Watch for fallen power lines, broken water or sewer lines, broken gas lines, and unstable buildings and bridges once the weather has subsided. For information specific to your area, listen to your local news channel or radio stations for information. Do not expect immediate assistance as roads may be blocked or damaged. It may take some time for all disrupted utility services to be restored including phone, electricity, gas, water and sewer services, and garbage disposal.
Preparis Tornado Tabletop Drill
Preparis Tornado Checklist
How your business can prepare for a natural disaster
Tornado warning case study: Alston + Bird LLP – A FORTUNE Magazine “100 Best Companies to Work For” law firm executes emergency preparation plans during a tornado warning
Emergency Notification: 5 Best Practices
For those out there with questions, feel free to post them in our comments section below. Be sure to follow Preparis on Facebook and Twitter to learn more on how your business should plan to survive severe weather.