What to do if you're caught outside in a tornado?
Saturday, 10 April 2010 09:43

Last week I mentioned that seeking shelter under an overpass is dangerous and is no place to seek shelter. So what should you do if you're about to be struck by a tornado and you're out in the open or you're in a car with no suitable shelter nearby? Last year the American Red Cross and the National Weather Service announced through a joint statement that they have revised their recommendation after a year of evidence-based research. If you cannot quickly walk to seek shelter in a basement or sturdy building, they now recommend that you:

  • Immediately get into a vehicle, buckle your seat belt and try to drive to closest sturdy shelter.
  • If flying debris occurs while you are driving, pull over and park. Now you have the following options as a last resort:
  • Stay in the car with the seat belt on. Put your head down below windows, covering with your hands and a blanket if possible.
  • If you can safely get noticeably lower than the level of the roadway, exit your car and lie in that area, covering your head with your hands.
  • Your choice should be driven by your specific circumstances.

Read the full text of the joint statement here [pdf]


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