Tornado Preparedness Review

No matter the season, the potential for severe thunderstorms with the capability of producing tornadoes is always a possibility.  Take a moment to review the correct tornado procedures for your facility.  In addition, keep a weather alert radio in your facility’s main office and verify that it has fresh batteries and is operational.  Conduct periodic drills so that everyone knows what to do in case of a tornado.

Tornado Danger Signs: 

  • Dark, greenish sky
  • Large hail
  • Low-lying cloud that may be rotating
  • Loud roar, like a freight train
  • Sudden drop in barometric pressure
  • Strong winds >60 mph
  • Frequent, intense lightning 

Terms to Know: 

Tornado Watch:

Tornadoes may be possible in the area.  Be ready to act quickly if a warning is issued.

Tornado Warning:

A tornado has been sighted or indicated by weather radar.  Take shelter immediately underground to a basement, storm cellar or interior room.

Shelter Areas: 

Best Shelter Areas:

  • Basements or interior lower levels
  • Areas with a short roof span
  • Away from glass or other safety hazards


  • Use interior hallways at a 90 degree angle to thru hallways that exit to the outside to help reduce wind tunnel effects.
  • Harden hallway shelter areas as needed to reduce exposure to flying debris and other hazards.

Do Not Use:

  • Areas with large roof spans such as gymnasiums, auditoriums, cafeterias, shop areas, warehouses, etc.
  • Temporary or portable offices/facilities.
  • Hallways that have glass doors at each end that open to the outdoors.

If you are in a vehicle, do not try to outrun the tornado.  Leave the vehicle immediately and take cover in a sturdy building or shelter area.  If you are outside and there is no shelter available, lie flat in a nearby ditch or depression.

Abandon mobile homes and portable offices.  Even if they are tied down, they offer little protection from tornadoes.

For more information on tornado preparedness, consult your Gallagher Bassett Loss Control Consultant or log on to the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) website at

The information contained in this report was obtained from sources which to the best of the writer’s knowledge are authentic and reliable.  Gallagher Bassett Services, Inc. makes no guarantee of results, and assumes no liability in connection with either the information herein contained, or the safety suggestions herein made.  Moreover, it cannot be assumed that every acceptable safety procedure is contained herein or that abnormal or unusual circumstances may not warrant or require further or additional procedures.