We are only a few days into April and national weather maps have been lighting up with Tornado warnings, especially in Tennessee, Ohio and West Virginia. The good news is that  the number of tornadoes affecting the US has not changed much since the 1950’s. The bad news, the range of places affected by tornadoes has increased and the scope of the devastation caused by tornadoes has surged.

Do you know what to do when there is a tornado?

Stay up to date with the weather. Know the difference between a tornado watch and tornado warning.

At your house. If there is a tornado warning go to the safest room in your house. Preferably a basement or safe room. If you don’t have a basement or safe room, find an interior room away from windows (bathrooms often work well). If you’re not safe, remember your pets aren’t either.

Not at your House. Many workplaces and commercial establishments have tornado drills and shelter locations. Don’t panic, and quickly follow these procedures. Stay away from windows, try to avoid large rooms.

Outside. Get to a safe building as quickly as you can. Remember that sheds, storage facilities, mobile homes, and tents are NOT tornado safe shelters.

In a Vehicle. Vehicles (including campers and RV’s) are NOT safe during a tornado. Try to find a structure for the duration of the storm. If that is not possible, remain in your vehicle, get low and cover your head. You can also seek shelter in a low lying area like a ditch. Get low and cover your head.

If your community has seen an increase in tornado activity, ask those who manage your community spaces (offices, schools, JCCs and gyms, synagogues and other places of worship) if they have a tornado plan in place. The Occupational and Safety Administration and Health Administration has a great primer for developing tornado plans.

NECHAMA is happy to help with any questions from synagogues and other places of worship about their tornado plan.

Stay safe!

Your Friends at NECHAMA.