Severe weather, such as a tornado, can strike at any time. It is important to understand severe weather warning systems, preparations, and the steps to take prior to and during severe weather.

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Warnings and Watches

The National Weather Service Issues tornado watches and warnings. A tornado watch means that tornados are likely to occur in the watch area. During a tornado watch always be ready to act quickly, take shelter, and monitor radio and television stations for more information.

A tornado warning means that a tornado was sighted in the area. It can also mean that radar indicates the presence of a tornado. When warnings are issued take shelter immediately.


It is important for employers to prepare for tornadoes. Preparation includes:

  • Identifying shelter locations.
  • Developing an accountability system for employees and visitors.
  • Establishing or installing an alarm system to warn workers.
  • Testing the alarm system at least twice per year.
  • Developing methods to communicate warnings to those with disabilities or those who do not speak English.
  • Assigning specific duties to workers in advance. This would include activities such as roll call, first aid, and monitoring the internet as well as radio or tv stations.
  • Equipping shelter areas with supply kits. A supply kit should include first aid supplies, water, blankets, a radio, and a flashlight.
  • Conducting routine severe weather drills or exercises.


The best way to take shelter from a tornado is in an underground location. Examples include basements or storm cellars. If an underground shelter is not available:

  • Seek a small interior room or hallway on the lowest floor possible.
  • Stay away from doors, windows, and outside walls.
  • Stay in the center of the room.
  • Avoid rooms or buildings with wide span roofs.

If you are in a vehicle there are two options:

  1. Stay in the vehicle with your seat belt on. Keep your head below the windows. Cover your head with your hands, a blanket, or a heavy jacket.
  2. Locate an area which is noticeably lower than the roadway. Lie in that area and cover your head with your hands.