Be Prepared: Tornado

In Colorado, the primary threat of tornadoes is east of the Continental Divide along the Front Range and foothill counties. Most tornadoes here occur in June, followed by July and May, mainly during afternoon or evening hours.

Depsite the risks tornadoes present, everyone can take steps to prepare. Peruse the information below to see how you can keep yourself and your family safe during a tornado.
Tornado
Before
  • Maintain an emergency 72-hour kit.
  • Develop a family communication plan in case your family is separated.
  • Identify a safe shelter location. A basement is best, followed by interior rooms on the lowest level of the building away from windows. Mobile homes are often unsafe in a tornado - identify a neighbor's house or public shelter where you can go if a tornado warning is issued.
  • Obtain a NOAA Weather Radio to receive alerts about impending severe weather.
  • Sign up for reverse telephone alerts for your county and don't forget to include your cell phone.
  • Make sure you have sufficient insurance coverage - including flood insurance, which is separate from your homeowners policy.
  • Photograph or video contents of your home in case you need to file a claim.
  • Store copies of your important documents in another location, such as a bank safe deposit box.
During
  • Immediately go to your pre-identified safe shelter, there is no time to gather possessions.
  • If possible, crouch under a sturdy piece of furniture, such as a table. Cover your head and neck with your hands and arms.
  • If you are outside and no shelter is available, get in a vehicle and drive to shelter if possible. Keep in mind that you won't be able to outrun a tornado.
  • If you must use a vehicle for shelter, keep your seat belt on, cover your head and keep it below the window level.
  • Do not use an overpass or bridge for shelter.
  • If no other shelter is available, lie in a low spot and cover your head, but be alert for water filing the location.
After
  • Avoid downed power lines and leaking gas lines, report them to your utility company.
  • Watch for broken glass, nails and other sharp objects.
  • Avoid damaged building until declared safe by officials.
  • Notify your family that you are safe, phone lines may be down, so be prepared to send text messages.
  • Check property for damage and contact your insurance company to file a claim, if necessary.
Information courtesy the READYColorado project funded by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security program known as the Denver Urban Areas Security Initiative.