We’re sure you’ve heard the news. Tornadoes have ravaged parts of several states, mostly in the central southern United States. We wish the survivors all the best in rebuilding their homes and lives. May the ones who were not lucky enough to survive the brutal storms rest in peace.
While it’s impossible to completely avoid such a tragedy (due to how powerful nature can sometimes be), we thought we’d share some great ways to be as prepared as humanly possible in case you live in a part of the world where a tornado could hit. Mother Nature can be a bit of a bitch can’t she?! This is how we propose you survive a tornado in true boss fashion!
1. Have a Plan
If there is a potential for strong enough storms to produce tornadoes where you live, you need to have an emergency plan prepared before you get blown away. If you never need it, that’s awesome, but it should be in place and everyone in your family (or whoever you live with) should know the plan. We’re going to discuss the most important parts of this plan in the next few steps, but simply having a plan and thus having thought about the possibility of a tornado before it hits will already give you a slight advantage over the people who will be running around like chickens with their heads cut off.
2. The Best Shelter You Can Find
The first part of your tornado survival plan should be focused on shelter. We’ll list them from best to worst case scenario. Obviously your options may be limited, because you might have to get to this shelter quickly.
a. An underground storm shelter would be your best bet when a tornado hits. It should be close enough to your home for you to be able to get there quickly, but not so close that your house could collapse on top of it. The door at a slight angle to the ground allows for debri to blow over more easily and also improves your chances of opening the door, if debri does end up blocking it.
An underground storm shelter can also be used for storing canned goods or to do some clam baking (if you’re a pothead stoner). Keep some non-perishable food items and water in your storm shelter, in case you get stuck in there for a bit. We’ll give you more sweet tips on a full emergency kit in a later step.
b. A large building, i.e. a mall or office building, is a very good option for shelter. Go to the lowest floor possible (avoid elevators to achieve this) and try to find an interior room without windows. An interior stairwell might be your best bet. If it’s a public place, you might have to calm down some people less prepared than you (or simply throw them into the tornado). Not much of what we put in parentheses is to be taken seriously.
c. A house with a basement can be fairly safe. Make sure you know where heavy objects are located on the floor above you and avoid getting under those spots. If the floor above you gives out, you certainly don’t want a piano to fall on you. Ideally you should wear a helmet and cover yourself in a mattress.
d. A house without a basement will be safe unless the tornado is so strong your whole house gets blown away. For most homes, it will take a catastrophically murderous storm to blow your whole house away… but it does happen. If it’s the best shelter you have immediate access to, find an interior room without windows if possible. This could be a bathroom, a closet, a stairwell or an interior hallway. A bathtub might give you partial protection, but strap on your helmet, Bobby, and lay a mattress and/or some blankets on top of you whenever possible. This way you’re less likely to get squashed like a bug by falling debris.
e. Now we’re getting into some of the types of shelter that probably aren’t adequate for a strong tornado. Probably not even a weak one to be quite honest. However, sometimes shit happens… so we’ll include how to make the best out of a terrible situation.
If you’re in a trailer or mobile home, get out and find more sturdy shelter if at all possible. Even a fairly weak tornado will tear these structures apart. If there is no other option. Try to get away from windows to the interior of the trailer or mobile home. Use a helmet, mattresses, blankets or whatever else you have to protect yourself somewhat. Again… if you have the opportunity, find sturdier shelter before the tornado hits.
In a vehicle. Say good night. No, but seriously, you’re not safe. If you see a tornado far away and traffic is light, you may be able to avoid the tornado by moving at right angles to it. Try to find shelter in a sturdy building or underground.
If you’re getting hit by extremely violent winds and there are cows and pieces of houses whirling through the air around your car, it’s time to park on the side of the road, put your head down and cover yourself with blankets, coats or whatever you have. (I assume most of you won’t have a mattress in your car.) If you’re able to get to significantly lower ground safely, go there and lay down flat. Cover your head with your hands and pray or whatever else you think might help comfort you. Avoid bridges. Which brings us to our final shelter – or lack thereof – option.
If you’re outside with no shelter in sight, find the lowest ground you can get to safely. Get as far away as possible from trees, cars and anything else that could get blown onto you by a horrendous tornado. Proceed to lie down flat and facing the ground. Put your hands behind your head like you’re about to get arrested after an awesome high speed police chase that made the news.
3. Assume the Boss Position
Now that we’ve covered what type of shelter you should seek out and have laid out in your emergency tornado plan ideally, we want to show you the body position you should be in when you’re inside shelter. Crouch down low facing the floor with your arms covering the back of your head. It would be great, if you were covered in a mattress and blankets with a helmet on. Above is a picture of the tornado boss position that could potentially save your life! It kinds of looks like the position a child would get into while being bullied and beaten on by some mean kids, but in this case it’s a good position to be in!
Of course… if you’re outside, you need to lay flat on the ground with your arms behind your head. The crouching position would make it easier for the tornado to blow you away in that specific scenario. We’ve already mentioned how utterly screwed you probably are, if you’re outside during a tornado… so we’re not gonna mention it again. (Or maybe we already did.)
4. Prepare an Emergency Kit
This is basically a 72 hour survival kit. It would include things like a radio or satellite phone, water, non-perishable food and a can opener, some first aid supplies, flashlights, batteries (because your flashlights are probably dead), dust masks, duct tape, wrench and pliers, clothes and toiletries. Mmm beef jerky.
5. Make the Inside of Your Home Secure
Secure large furniture to the wall when possible and try to avoid having items that may move during the storm in the room where you would seek safety.
6. Be Able to Identify a Severe Storm or Tornado
Tornadoes generally develop during thunderstorms, however the thunderstorm doesn’t have to be in your immediate area. Lightning, rain and hail may be warning signs, if a tornado warning has been issued for your area. Also darkening skies, especially if it’s green-ish (usually indicating hail) or orange-ish (dust blown by high winds) in color.
More warning signs:
– Rotation of the cloud base.
– Very calm and quiet conditions immediately after a thunderstorm.
– Roaring, continuous thunder that may sound like a jet or train. The whistles go woo!
– Any sort of whirling debris near the ground.
– Blue-green or white flashes near the ground in the distance. That would be some boss winds snapping power lines like twigs!
Any combination of these warning signs during a tornado watch should have you seeking safe shelter in our opinion, unless you like to gamble (with your life).
7. After the Tornado
Make sure the storm is over, before you leave your safe shelter. Stay tuned to the local radio.
Deal with injuries first, then shut off utilities like gas, water and electricity. Gas leaks can be extremely dangerous in particular. You don’t want to die in an explosion after you just survived a tornado. (Or at any other time really.) Don’t light any matches or lighters until you’ve turned off your utilities.
See how badly damaged your current location is and seek an evacuation center if need be. This is also where injuries can be treated. Bring your emergency supplies with you just in case.
8. Copies of Important Documents
After you know where you’re gonna go and how to survive, if a tornado hits, you need to prepare for the potential aftermath if a tornado destroys your home. Store copies of important documents in several places if at all possible. If that’s not possible, store them in a place that will either survive any tornado (i.e. a completely badass safe that is somehow tornado-proof) or have some copies ready to grab as you exit your home. We much prefer the option of having copies elsewhere, because it’s your safest bet.
Make sure you have a list of all relevant phone numbers you will need, if a tornado ever hits. Numbers of all your family members, schools your children attend, work number(s), number(s) of babysitter(s)… just to give you some examples. Make sure everyone relevant has a copy to grab and also have a copy with your important documents discussed in the previous step.
Also make sure everyone knows where evacuation centers are located. This is important information, if you’re looking for someone after the storm is over. Usually evacuation centers will be places like schools or city buildings.
10. Help Others
Once you’re good to go or if you were unharmed by the tornado, help others like a boss!
We really hope some or all of this information is valuable to you, if you live in an area that may be affected by tornadoes in the future. Please share this information with your friends and family. Maybe even some of your enemies, if you don’t want them to die.