Tornado Safety For Businesses

Although natural disasters are devastating, tornadoes are often viewed as nature's most violent storms; they can strike in an instant and leave just as quickly. With the unpredictable nature of tornadoes, it is vital to be prepared!

Know Your Terms! (courtesy of The National Weather Service)

  • Tornado: A violently rotating column of air with circulation reaching the ground.  It nearly always starts as a funnel cloud and may be accompanied by a loud roaring noise. On a local scale, it is the most destructive of all atmospheric phenomena.
  • Tornado Watch: Issued by the NWS when conditions are favorable for the development of tornadoes in and close to the watch area. They are usually issued for a duration of four to eight hours and are normally issued well in advance of the actual occurrence of severe weather.
  • Tornado Warning: Issued when a tornado is indicated by the WSR-88D radar or sighted by spotters; therefore, people in the affected area should seek safe shelter immediately. They can be issued without a Tornado Watch being already in effect, and usually issued for a duration of around 30 minutes.
  • Tornado Emergency: An exceedingly rare tornado warning issued when there is a severe threat to human life and catastrophic damage from an imminent or ongoing tornado. This tornado warning is reserved for situations when a reliable source confirms a tornado or there is clear radar evidence of the existence of a damaging tornado, such as the observance of debris.

Be Prepared!

  • Establish and maintain a Business Continuity of Operations Plan;
  • Make a disaster kit for your office;
  • Identify essential personnel and make sure they understand what is expected of them during a disaster;
  • Create an office emergency plan:
    • Practice an office-wide tornado drill regulary;
    • Plan places where you & your employees will meet;
    • Identify your shelter in case of a tornado warning-
      • A storm shelter or basement provides the best protection;
      • If you do not have an underground shelter, go to an interior room or hallway on the lowest floor;
      • Stay away from windows, doors and outside walls;
      • Stay in your shelter area until the danger has passed;
  • Listen to radio and/or TV stations for information;
  • Opening windows does not keep a house or building from exploding due to low pressure during a tornado. It actully increases the chance of high winds entering and causing more damage and exposing you to injury.

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Developed by John Lyons - Application Developer III - Adjutant General's Department