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March 14, 2022
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Tornado Preparedness and Response

Severe weather can strike at any time. It is important to understand severe weather warning systems, preparations, and the steps to take prior to and during severe weather.

Understand Warning Systems:

Tornado Watch means tornadoes are likely to occur in the watch area. Be ready to act quickly and take shelter. Monitor radio and television stations for more information.

Tornado Warning (imminent threat) means tornado has been sighted in the area or radar indicates the presence of a tornado. Take shelter immediately.

Be Prepared

  • Identify shelter locations in each work environment.
  • Develop a system for knowing who is in the building in the event of an emergency. Account for visitors and customers using a sign-in sheet and take a head count.
  • Establish an alarm system to warn workers. Test the alarm routinely and develop plans to communicate warnings to personnel with disabilities or those who do not speak English.
  • Assign specific duties to workers in advance (roll call, first aid, monitoring radio/tv stations, etc.).
  • Equip shelter areas with supply kits (first aid, water, blankets, radio, flashlights/lighting, etc.)
  • Ensure that workers know what to do in case of an emergency. Conduct routine severe weather drills/exercises.

Identify Shelter Locations

An underground area, such as a basement or storm cellar, provide the best protection from a tornado. If an underground shelter is not available, consider the following:

  • Seek a small interior room or hallway on the lowest floor possible.
  • Stay away from doors, windows, and outside walls.
  • Stay in the center of the room.
  • Avoid rooms or buildings with wide span roofs.

If in a vehicle, there are two options:

  1. Stay in the vehicle with the seat belt on, keeping your head below the windows and covering it with your hands, a blanket, or a heavy jacket.
  2. Locate an area which is noticeably lower than the roadway. Lie in that area and cover your head with your hands.

For more information visit:

Source: Joe Mlynek is president of Progressive Safety Services LLC, Port Clinton, OH:, and content creation expert for Safety Made Simple Inc., Olathe, KS;


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Safety Tip of the Week is edited by Managing Editor Tucker Scharfenberg and published each Monday by Grain Journal, Decatur, IL

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