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Protecting Yourself During a Tornado

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Chip Ward

JACKSON, Miss. – Being in the middle of a tornado warning can be a scary situation. Although safety cannot be guaranteed since freak accidents do happen, there are precautions you can take to help ensure your safety.

If you are at home when a tornado hits, get to the lowest level of your house. Stay away from windows and try to put as many walls as possible between you and the outside of the home. It is also important to stay in the center of the room since corners can attract debris. You may also want to consider getting under a sturdy piece of furniture like a work bench or a heavy table or jumping in the bath tub and covering yourself with a mattress.

If you are at work or school when a tornado hits, go to the basement or into an inside hallway at the lowest leveling of the building you are at. Avoid places with wide-span roofs, such as auditoriums, cafeterias, large hallways, or shopping malls. Also, use your arms to protect your head and neck.

If you are in a mobile home or outdoors when a tornado hits, try to get to a building that has a strong foundation. If one is not available, find a ditch or a low lying area that is a safe distance from your home. Tornadoes cannot change elevation quickly enough to pick someone up out of a ditch, especially a deep ditch or a culvert.

If you are in a vehicle, do not try to out drive a tornado. Tornadoes can change direction quickly and even toss your vehicle in the air. Get out of the vehicle and take shelter in a building nearby with a strong foundation or crouch down in a ditch or low lying area.

It is also best to have a NOAA Weather Radio handy so you can be warned about the danger before it hits.

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