Tornado Safety and Preparation – Violent Weather Arrives with Seasonal Changes

Tornado Safety and Preparation Twister Approaching

Tornado Safety and Preparation – Springtime warmth brings Severe Weather Outbreaks  

This Tornado Safety and Preparation article is an extension of a recent post,, which addresses the benefits of getting ready for emergencies and disasters. I now take you from the 50,000-foot level to treetop level.

Though Old Man Winter still has his teeth in parts of the country, the transition from winter to spring and accompanying outbreaks of tornadoes is already underway. Southern states are currently experiencing death and destruction and regrettably in the coming months a substantial portion of the United States will experience similar devastation. ‘What does that mean, and how do I prepare?’ one might ask. 

Know Your Weather Opponent

The National Weather Service defines a tornado as “a violently rotating column of air extending from the base of a thunderstorm down to the ground. These violent weather events can destroy well-made structures, uproot trees, and hurl objects through the air like deadly missiles.”  

Terms such as “Fujita Scale”, “Enhanced Fujita Scale”, or “F1/EF1 tornado” might also be used to describe the event. The Fujita Scale is a measuring system ranging from 0 to 5 to assess tornado intensity. A similar ranking for hurricanes is Category 1 through 5. An F0 tornado has a minimum speed of 40mph (damaged signs, broken tree branches) and an F5’s minimum wind speed is 261mph (houses picked up and moved as in the movies Twister and The Wizard of Oz). The Enhanced Fujita Scale also includes 3-second wind gusts.

Tornadoes occur at any time of day or night and increasingly at any time of the year so be prepared. Have a NOAA weather radio close by or monitor local weather broadcasts and social media for updated emergency information. These alerts use the terms watch and warning. Knowing the difference is crucial in your preparations.  

Tornado Safety and Preparation – Watches and Warnings

WatchBe Prepared and ready to act. Conditions are favorable for tornado development. Review and discuss your emergency plan and check your supplies and your safe room.  

WarningAct quickly. There is an imminent danger to life and property. A tornado has been sighted by a trained spotter or indicated by radar. Move to an interior room on the lowest floor of a sturdy building and avoid windows. If in a mobile home, a vehicle, or outdoors, move to the closest substantial shelter and protect yourself from flying debris. As always, follow instructions from state and local officials. 

Emergency Kit – The Importance of Lighting and Supplies

Every emergency preparedness recommendation includes an emergency kit, and every emergency kit includes a flashlight with extra batteries and a cell phone with a charger and a spare battery. EcoCentricNow, LLC can help you equip your emergency kit with an assortment of handheld LED lights and batteries. 

Teaser: Keep an eye out for our next article that answers the question “What is Emergency Preparedness?” and provides a flow chart for planning ahead.  


Prepare! Don’t let Tornadoes Take You by Surprise (

About the Author

Mr. James Christy is a distinguished and expert safety professional (retired) with decades of experience practicing and leading teams in the arenas of Environmental Health and Safety (ESH), Security, Quality Control, Training, and Academia. His accomplishments include U.S. Marine Corp veteran, ambulance medic, American Society of Safety Professionals (Engineers) member, OSHA VPP auditor, NASA Safety Officer, Associate Safety Professional (ASP), Certified Safety Professional (CSP) and college instructor. With 35-years’ experience, Jim conducted safety investigations, established OSHA programs and process improvements, served on corporate safety committees (domestic and international), and led sites in achieving OSHA VPP Star recognition and ISO/OHSAS compliance/registration. Jim’s commitment to service continues with mentoring next generation safety professionals and sharing his wealth of knowledge as a contributing author. 

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