Tornado Safety 101

Tornadoes are nature’s most violent storms. Spawned from powerful thunderstorms, tornadoes can cause fatalities and devastate a neighborhood in seconds.   While they can spawn anywhere, tornados are most common in the Midwest and Southeast.  In 2018, Missouri recorded 47 tornados.  For this reason, residents should review tornado safety tips annually, have an emergency supply kit and a family communications plan in place.

Be prepared.

Build an emergency supply kit and make a family communication plan. A basic emergency supply kit should include the following items:

  • Water, one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation
  • Food, at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food,  manual can opener
  • Necessary medications
  • Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert, extra batteries for both
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • First aid kit
  • Whistle to signal for help
  • Dust masks, plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place
  • Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
  • Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
  • Cell phone with chargers, inverter or solar charger
  • A plan to contact family members

Stay tuned.

Sign up for notifications from Emergency Alert System (EAS) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).  Always listen to the instructions given by local emergency management officials.  Be alert to changing weather conditions. Look for approaching storms and be prepared to take shelter immediately if you see the following:

    • Dark, often greenish sky
    • Large hail
    • A large, dark, low-lying cloud (particularly if rotating)
    • Loud roar, similar to a freight train

Watch or Warning?  Know the difference.

Tornado Watch – Tornadoes are possible. Remain alert for approaching storms. Watch the sky and stay tuned to EAS/NOAA Weather Radio or local radio/television for information.

Tornado Warning – A tornado has been sighted or indicated by weather radar. Take shelter immediately.

Take shelter.

  • If possible get to a sturdy building and go to a safe room, basement or storm cellar.
  • If no basement is available, get to an interior room on the lowest level.
  • Stay away from windows, doors and outside walls.
  • Use arms to protect head and neck.
  • Do not shelter under an overpass or bridge.  You are safest in a low, flat location.

More Resources.

More resources can be found at  This site provides additional tips on building an emergency supply kit, taking proper shelter, conducting tornado drills, preparing a tornado safety plan for a business and what to do in the aftermath of a tornado.

Casey, Devoti & Brockland is a St. Louis-based law firm focused exclusively on personal injury litigation.  Since 1983, our attorneys have helped injured people navigate the road to recovery by securing compensation for pain and suffering, medical expenses and lost wages. Together Partners Matt Casey, Matt Devoti and Anne Brockland have nearly 50 years of trial experience handling the following personal injury matters: car, truck and train crashes, victims of impaired and distracted driving, medical malpractice, birth injuries, product liability, premises liability, elder and sexual abuse, Workers’ Compensation and wrongful death.  We proudly serve clients throughout metropolitan St. Louis, southeastern Missouri and southern Illinois.

Our highly accessible attorneys deliver the perfect balance of aggressive legal representation, compassion and personal service. If you or a loved one have been injured by the negligence of another, call the office today for a free, no-obligation consultation: (314) 421-0763.

Related Categories:

Legal & Safety Blog
Contact Us