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Plan & Prepare

Tornadoes: What to do During a Tornado

(Much of the information on this page is adapted from information provided by the American Red Cross, and FEMA).

If At Home:

  • Go at once to the safe place you have identified in your home - ideally a windowless, interior room, a storm cellar, basement or the lowest level of the building.
  • Stay away from windows.
  • Go to the center of the room - but be sure not to stay underneath any heavy objects (pianos, refrigerators, waterbeds, etc) on the floor above! Stay away from corners because they tend to attract debris.
  • Get under a piece of sturdy furniture such as a workbench or heavy table or desk and hold on to it, or cover yourself with a mattress or sleeping bag.
  • Use arms to protect head and neck.

If In A Manufactured Home:

  • Get out and find shelter elsewhere.
  • Take shelter in a building with a strong foundation.
  • If shelter is not available, lie in a ditch or low-lying area a safe distance away from the unit.

If At Work Or School:

  • Go to the basement or to an inside hallway at the lowest level.
  • Avoid places with wide-span roofs such as auditoriums, cafeterias, large hallways or shopping malls.
  • Get under a piece of sturdy furniture such as a workbench or heavy table or desk and hold onto it.
  • Use arms to protect head and neck.

If Outdoors:

  • If possible, get inside a building.
  • If shelter is not available or there is no time to get indoors, lie in a ditch or low-lying area or crouch near a strong building. Be aware of the potential for flooding.
  • Get as far away from trees and cars as you can.
  • Use arms to protect head and neck.

If In A Car:

  • Never try to out drive a tornado in a car or truck! Tornadoes can change direction quickly and can lift up a car or truck and toss it through the air.
  • 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. Be aware of the potential for flooding.

If In A Shopping Mall Or Large Store:

  • Do not panic. Watch for others. Move as quickly as possible to an interior bathroom, storage room or other small enclosed area, away from windows. Crouch face-down and protect your head with your arms.

If In A Church Or Theater:

  • Do not panic. If possible, move quickly but orderly to an interior bathroom or hallway, away from windows. Crouch face-down and protect your head with your arms.
  • If there is no time to do that, get under seats or pews, protecting your head with your arms or hands.
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New Jersey Office of Emergency Management
P. O. Box 7068
Trenton, NJ 08628

 

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