Jump to content
WildSurvive Forum
Swede

Tornado Emergency Plans

Recommended Posts

OK with all the loss of life and property in the news about tornadoes we should discuss plans to survive a tornado.

 

We have a basement with a heavy work bench we plan to get under and hope. When ever we have a tornado watch/warning we get fully dressed and grab a flashlight or two. We watch outside for advancing storms. I have a chain saw ready to take to the basement with us just in case we have to saw our way out. However there will be LP gas leaking so we will have to use the saw as soon as possible. Take items from a BOB or the entire collection with you as most items will be of use. First aid kits could be useful also. Most advisers agree the south/west part of the basement is the best because thats where most tornadoes come from.

 

What is your plan for tornado survival? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have a weather radio in the kitchen and another portable one I take with me when I travel. Severe weather in the area and the alarms go off.  At home, we have the small protected room in the basement, where we store a number of items, including food, but I do need to put together a  bug out bag for that.

 

I travel with a small emergency kit - knife, fire starter, etc. and when I arrive, I scout out routes to exits of where I am staying along with any safe areas (lower levels, under stairwells, ditches if need be, etc).  I will do the same on site at the college where I am working.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Tornado survival is all about early warning. In an ideal world every building should have a well built safe room inside the property with no windows but I dont expect everyone can afford these.

 

Weather radio is a life saver, i would advise everyone to get one and keep fresh battery's in it too. If you sit in front of a pc all day or even have one on I would get you local weather warnings RSS fed to it. Take tornado warning as serious dont ignore them.

 

Dont think you will have time to grab stuff and go to your shelter keep the stuff you need in your shelter area. I would suggest you get yourself a heavy duty steel tool chest and bolt it to the floor to keep all your important paperwork in and some BOB supplies. Remember you are likely to lose everything in a tornado so anything you cant afford to lose keep it in the chest.

 

If you live in a trailer I would strongly suggest you keep copies of any important paperwork off site. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I suspect there will be a National push for Tornado preparedness after this spring. I would think there may be a new push for cities to provide more information and shelters but there will be little time to travel very far to one. Wildsurvive gets many visitors daily looking for survival information and any thing we can provide could be helpful. Trailer parks are very dangerous places during tornado threats and even severe storms.There should be a program to build survival shelters to accommodate the residences. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I suspect there will be a National push for Tornado preparedness after this spring. I would think there may be a new push for cities to provide more information and shelters but there will be little time to travel very far to one. Wildsurvive gets many visitors daily looking for survival information and any thing we can provide could be helpful. Trailer parks are very dangerous places during tornado threats and even severe storms.There should be a program to build survival shelters to accommodate the residences. 

Iowa passed a law a couple of years ago requiring trailer parks to provide a storm shelter.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

~ When nature decides to spawn monsters, I'm not sure if all the preparation in the world will help you...

 

even if you have a secure storm-proof basement, you might be at work, at school, or on the road.

 

A decade or so ago, CNN posted a video of two news reporters who got out of their car and climbed under a bridge on a highway when a Tornado on the Kansas turnpike refused to relent... they got some amazing video footage. But if you watch it, you can clearly see that they did not endure a direct hit.

 

Sadly, A lot of lives have been lost due to that video. People saw it, and thought that when they see a tornado, they should get out of their car and go under a bridge or overpass.

 

I think educating ourselves about the dangers of Cyclonic Storms like tornados can help as much as having a plan at home.  :thumbup:

 

Most people who die in tornados, die of severe Impact injuries from flying debris. So Getting out of your car... ONLY increases your exposure to that type of injury. STUFF is flying around FAST in a tornado...  you want something around you, to protect you. If you're unfortunate enough to get caught in your vehical in a storm like that, for god sakes buckle up.... and just ride it out, or try to outrun it, even if you have to break the law to do so. Get out of it's way. If it does grab  your car, at least you've got a vehical surrounding you that has been put through rigorous tests to protect it's occupants from truama.  :thumbup:  Whether it be from another car, or flying boards, or another flying vehical, or from the ground itself. You're better off staying in your car.

 

HOWEVER, if you're at home, and you see a tornado, Don't run and get in your car! I've watched so many tornado "Home" videos, and I can't believe the number of people who think that you're better off in your car in a tornado. I think it stems from the Thunder Storm Ideal.... In your car, you are safe from lightning because the rubber tires do not go to ground etc.

 

People over-generalize information like that to the point that it gets them killed.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have seen the video you are talking about, Taken, and yes, those people were very lucky.  Even the windows of a van parked under the same overpass were broken. 

 

If it were the only shelter, yes, stay in your car only as a last resort, but I would take a ditch or a culvert if there were one around.  I have seen way too many vehicles completely annihilated by a tornado picking them up and throwing them about.  Becoming a projectile would be as hazardous as being out in the open.  The glass in the side and back windows is tempered and will shatter on impact, becoming shrapnel. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have seen the video you are talking about, Taken, and yes, those people were very lucky.  Even the windows of a van parked under the same overpass were broken. 

 

If it were the only shelter, yes, stay in your car only as a last resort, but I would take a ditch or a culvert if there were one around.  I have seen way too many vehicles completely annihilated by a tornado picking them up and throwing them about.  Becoming a projectile would be as hazardous as being out in the open.  The glass in the side and back windows is tempered and will shatter on impact, becoming shrapnel. 

 

~ I'm staying in my car. I don't see many ditches on highways. And with the little time people  have to THINK (for one) much less start looking for an alternative plan....  It's too dangerous to be running around out there. Actually, I'd try to get out of it's way (even if I had to go offroad to do it, or cross the median and go the other way) Hell, everybody drives off-road vehicals anyway... might as well use them.  :P :whistle:

 

A ditch is less than a basement, and people have been sucked right out of their basement in a monster tornado. If I'm not safe in my car... I'm not safe out of it either. Either way, I'm screwed, and I was in the wrong place at the wrong time, but at least I have some steel around me.

 

That's just my take on it.  I saw a lot of "Alive" people being pulled from their toppled cars after this particular storm footage. Those black things you see being tossed around on the road are cars. If it can toss a car, it can toss a person who is out of their car evey further, and pound them with ballistic objects. The tornado vered off-road before hitting the bridge.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That is the video I saw as well. Right at :40, you see the tornado eating something...that is actually a fully loaded semi that gets picked up and tossed around.  

 

I always wondered why when they first saw the tornado off to the side following them, why they didn't go through the median and go back the other way or just bust across the field to the left to get out of the path? According to the voice over, they were up to 85mph and could not out run it.

 

If they were out "chasing" and got into this situation, they were completely stupid, violating every rule and guideline given on that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That is the video I saw as well. Right at :40, you see the tornado eating something...that is actually a fully loaded semi that gets picked up and tossed around. 

 

I always wondered why when they first saw the tornado off to the side following them, why they didn't go through the median and go back the other way or just bust across the field to the left to get out of the path? According to the voice over, they were up to 85mph and could not out run it.

 

If they were out "chasing" and got into this situation, they were completely stupid, violating every rule and guideline given on that.

 

~ I agree.... I thought the exact SAME Thing...  they should've broken every Road law in the book, and used the speed of their vehical to put some distance between themselves and that tornado. THAT's what a survivor would do.  :thumbup:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think you have the right idea, Taken - use any shelter you can find.  

In the time it took them to get up the bank under the bridge, if they could have found a culvert, they could have been inside the steel tube under ground, but again, you have to find it.

 

Situational awareness is huge.  Pay attention to what is going on around you, the developing weather conditions and start looking for shelter early, way before you might need it.

 

At 70mph, you can cover a lot of ground.  You can see a supercell from a pretty good distance and you can also see the rotation in the cloud bank from miles away. Why in the world would anyone keep driving at that type of a storm?  Sometimes, stopping and letting it pass would work just as well.

 

Keep the storm and/or rotation moving from your left to your right.  If storm is moving from your right to your left, turn around and haul ass the other way.  If the storm is moving from your right to your left and you can see rotation, haul ass even faster.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think you have the right idea, Taken - use any shelter you can find. 

In the time it took them to get up the bank under the bridge, if they could have found a culvert, they could have been inside the steel tube under ground, but again, you have to find it.

 

Situational awareness is huge.  Pay attention to what is going on around you, the developing weather conditions and start looking for shelter early, way before you might need it.

 

At 70mph, you can cover a lot of ground.  You can see a supercell from a pretty good distance and you can also see the rotation in the cloud bank from miles away. Why in the world would anyone keep driving at that type of a storm?  Sometimes, stopping and letting it pass would work just as well.

 

Keep the storm and/or rotation moving from your left to your right.  If storm is moving from your right to your left, turn around and haul ass the other way.  If the storm is moving from your right to your left and you can see rotation, haul ass even faster.

 

~ Exactly!  I think people get so caught up in where they're going and WHEN they're going to get there, that they don't pay attention to the Ominous warnings. Hell, out in the midwest in Kansas and some other states, you're right, it's so flat you can see storms for MILES in the distance. People just need to be aware of the dangers that are creeping up on them (Or often that THEY themselves are creeping up on), and tune in to their instincts. (If they have any).  ::)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Steel culvert is good and a big concrete box culvert may be too big but better then nothing.

 

If I was in my car/truck and saw the tornado I would drive away at a right angle if I could. Ive actually been with in 200 yards of one standing in the sun light next to my car. It was in a small oak timber and the sounds of ripping tree limbs was amazing. I turned around a drove like hell to the first road to the right away from the thing. I stopped at a friends house and told they there was a tornado right over there. When it passed I went back down the road I was just on only to find trees blocking the road. There was another twister I didnt see.

 

Weather radio is good to listen for a tornado but the question was what are you planning to do if one is heading toward you?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You dont want to be heading under bridges and large culverts They just funnel the winds to a much higher speed far better to just lay flat in a hollow in the ground and hope for the best. I would not stay in my car, whilst chasing in Texas a few years ago we found a car in a tree with a family in it they where not in a good shape and there was nothing we could do to help because we had no way off getting to them other than put a call into the fire department. Which in itself was not an easy task phones were down and they were very busy. Luckily we had a ham radio with us.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When we chase tornados we do it from the Southeast because it is the safest position to be. If you find yourself in the open in the path of a tornado try heading in that direction even if by a couple hundred yards your survival chances should increase. As a chaser I have been a couple hundred yards from a tornado by going in from the south east. It is relatively safe.

 

But remember if in the path of one it could be moving at over 60 mph towards you. The one the other day was moving at 60 mph and last nights were moving at 45 mph.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

~ Exactly!  I think people get so caught up in where they're going and WHEN they're going to get there, that they don't pay attention to the Ominous warnings. Hell, out in the midwest in Kansas and some other states, you're right, it's so flat you can see storms for MILES in the distance. People just need to be aware of the dangers that are creeping up on them (Or often that THEY themselves are creeping up on), and tune in to their instincts. (If they have any).  ::)

 

The problem is like last night the Cells were HP Cells so once the tornado is rain wrapped it is imposable to see the tornado.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The most encouraging thing I see is that since the weather service changed its warning system less people are being killed or injured. Ok I know the numbers are very high so far this year but it is well known this year was going to be a very bad year for tornados. The warnings are so much more effective. Warning for the storms yesterday went out the day before covering 3 states and then yesterday they were narrowed down to smaller areas.

 

I was looking at the warning area yesterday and noted there was no precipitation on them but 10 mins later storms were popping up all along the dry line

And the first tornado on the ground. In 10 minutes!

   

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

~ I agree.... I thought the exact SAME Thing...  they should've broken every Road law in the book, and used the speed of their vehical to put some distance between themselves and that tornado. THAT's what a survivor would do.  :thumbup:

 

One issue is people do stop but they stop in the middle of the highway blocking all traffic behind them and it is these people that often end up suffering. I have seen it too many times and was caught out like that once myself. If you are going to stop don't stop in the middle of the road move over to the verge. I know the police charged a man for blocking the road and refusing to move when asked a couple of years ago. The tornado went through the traffic that he had blocked causing many injury's.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When we chase tornados we do it from the Southeast because it is the safest position to be. If you find yourself in the open in the path of a tornado try heading in that direction even if by a couple hundred yards your survival chances should increase. As a chaser I have been a couple hundred yards from a tornado by going in from the south east. It is relatively safe.

 

But remember if in the path of one it could be moving at over 60 mph towards you. The one the other day was moving at 60 mph and last nights were moving at 45 mph.

 

 

Interesting, Adi.  Where did/do you chase?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Normally set up in the Dallas Fort Worth area but have chased all over the plains. Once set up we spend the night in the town closest to the area we think the next days action will be or where we finish chasing that day them relocate the next morning. I have not done it for a number of years but I have friends out there at the moment, they are into their 3rd week out of a 6 week tour. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Good input Adi and information we can use. It looks like the best thing people are doing is getting into  bath room or basement and hoping for the best. As we can see this is better then nothing but still not good enough by the number of people who dont survive. The survivors are very lucky and bruised and cut and battered so flying debris is a killer. We simply have to have a better plan if we intend to live through a direct hit.

 

I expect to see a national attempt to come up with plans to help more people to survive in the coming months. Meanwhile we as survivors need to refine our personal plans with as much information as we can gather.

 

So far>

Go into the basement in the south west corner.

Look for a hardened area like under a heavy work bench.

Prepare a kit in advance that contains things like flashlights, first aid, maybe a whistle to aid emergency crews to find you, cell phone, maybe even a helmet like a motorcycle or bicycle if you have one.

Get into a bathroom and into the tub and cover up with a sleeping bag or mattress.

If you have time you may consider getting out of the way by driving if you know where the tornado is and where its heading.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you have time turn off Gas, electricity and water it is often these that become a problem after the tornado has past.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yup I thought about our LP gas and forgot. If we were trapped in the basement the LP would be leaking and its heavier then air so it would be building up waiting for something to set it off. If you have time run out and shut the valve of at the tank. You may as well trip the main on your breaker box as well as you go into the basement or bathroom. Live wires are inevitable.

 

So culvert pipes under the road is good provided the ditch isnt filling up with water but still better then nothing. Large box culverts are a last resort because its likely you can be sucked out as the storm passes.

Ditches are also something to consider and increase your chances to better then nothing.

Staying in a vehicle is questionable and we need more information on this.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×