15 Tornado Safety Tips (People Often Forget About Tip #4)

By: Diana Rodriguez-Zaba
Updated on: March 26, 2024

You can count on our spring and summer seasons here in northwest Illinois to always deliver severe weather. This past June, we saw the destruction left behind after four tornadoes hit our area in just one night. Meteorologists are predicting that we’ll see an increase in the number of these dangerous weather events.

Last year, the National Weather Service reported a record-breaking 29 tornadoes in our part of the state. As Chicago’s leading restoration contractor, we see the devastation first-hand. The hail and high winds generated by tornadoes are dangerous, destructive, and often deadly.

As we help families and businesses recover, we want to do all that we can to minimize future losses and increase your personal safety. That’s why we’ve put together these 15 life-saving tornado safety tips to never forget as we head into another stormy Chicago summer.

Here’s a List of 15 Important Tornado Safety Tips

1. Get Ready Now

Decide now on what you need for a basic home-survival package. Assemble a first aid kit, and store it in a handy spot with flashlights and a battery-powered radio. Keep back-up batteries in the same location.

2. Plan with the Family

Develop a plan with the family so that everyone knows how to react and where to go when a tornado strikes. Just like family fire drills, this kind of advanced preparation can save lives.

3. Designate a Safe Room

If you don’t have a basement, choose an interior room on the lowest floor that puts as many walls as possible between you and the outside. Closets often make excellent safe rooms.

4. Develop a Pet Strategy

Most pets ride out storms best in their crates. If you don’t use a crate, be sure to leash your pets during a severe weather event so that you can keep them under control.

5. Stock the Pantry

Keep plenty of canned goods and packaged food on hand in case you lose power. Cold soup might not seem like much of a meal, but it becomes more appetizing when you can’t cook for several days.

6. Protect Important Papers

Use a safe box to preserve important papers like insurance documents. The box is a smart place to keep information for emergency contacts and restoration services too.

7. Suit Up Safely

Bicycle helmets and hard-soled shoes are highly recommended for personal protection during a tornado. Plastic safety goggles are also excellent additions to the family’s tornado safety gear.

8. Stay Away from Windows

If you have to shelter in an area other than your safe room, stay away from windows. Hail and wind-driven storm debris can smash glass and create airborne shrapnel.

9. Batten Down Everything

The high winds from a tornado can turn trash cans, lawn furniture and even the kids’ toys into into deadly projectiles. Heed storm warnings, and secure things outside before bad weather blows in.

10. Keep the Landscape Safe

Treat shade trees around the house to regular trimming. Your maintenance keeps them healthy and minimizes the risk of branches crashing through windows during a tornado.

11. Know Your Skies

If you’re outside or on the road, your first storm warning often comes from overhead. Learn to identify the different cloud types that indicate oncoming severe weather.

12. Abandon the Car

If you’re driving and encounter a tornado, don’t try to take shelter under an overpass. Instead, leave your car, lie down in a low area, and cover your head and neck with your arms.

13. Evacuate a Mobile Home

More than 40 percent of deaths caused by tornado activity occur in mobile home settings. If you’re inside this type of structure when a tornado approaches, seek alternative shelter immediately.

14. Don’t Try to Run

A tornado’s ground speed averages 30 miles per hour, so don’t try to outrun the storm. If you’re caught outside, lie face down in the lowest available area, and protect your head with your arms.

15. Listen to Watches, React to Warnings

When the National Weather Service issues a tornado watch, practice your pre-storm strategies like clearing the yard. When you hear a tornado warning, take it seriously, and head for shelter right away.

Helping You Weather the Storm

water damage restoration team

This summer is shaping up to be another stormy season, and we want you to be prepared for the worst. We invite you to add your safety tips to our list by sharing them with our online community through our Comments Section.

If you’re ever affected by the destruction of a tornado, we’re here for you with immediate disaster cleanup services. We also provide water damage cleanup and water damage restoration for Chicago and the suburbs, and we also handle fire damage cleanup. When you need help weathering the storm, call us first here at ServiceMaster Restoration by Zaba.