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Fact Sheet


While tornadoes commonly take place in the Midwest during the spring and summer, they have been reported in every state and they can happen at any time.

What You Can Do to Prepare

Create a family emergency plan
 Designate a place where the entire family should gather if a tornado is headed your way. The best place is usually the basement. If there is no basement, choose a center hallway, a bathroom or a closet on the lowest floor. If you live in a high-rise building, you may not have time to go to the lowest floor so pick a second place such as a hallway in the center of the building. In any case, make sure this location is clutter free.
 Conduct tornado drills. This will help everyone remember what to do if and when a tornado is approaching.

Assemble a disaster supply kit
 first aid kit and basic medications
 battery-powered flashlight and radio
 extra batteries
 canned food and a can opener
 bottled water
 work gloves and sturdy shoes
 written instructions on how to turn off your home's utilities

Understand tornado watches and warnings
 A tornado WATCH indicates the possibility of a tornado in your area.
 A tornado WARNING occurs when a tornado has been spotted and may be headed towards you. You should immediately get to safety.

Listen to your local TV and radio stations for up-to-date storm information.

During a Tornado Watch

Be alert to changes in weather conditions
Flying debris or the sound of an approaching tornado (many compare this to the sound of a freight train) may indicate that a tornado is near.

Stay tuned to local TV and radio stations for updates

During a Tornado Warning
 IF YOU ARE INSIDE: Go to your designated meeting place on the lowest level of the building.
 IF YOU ARE OUTSIDE: Hurry to the lowest level of a nearby sturdy building or lie flat in a ditch or low-lying area.
 IF YOU ARE IN A MOBILE HOME: Get out immediately and head for the nearest shelter.
 IF YOU ARE IN A MOTOR VEHICLE: Do not try to outrun the storm - get out of the vehicle and seek shelter in a safe structure or lie down in a low area.
After a Tornado Passes

Inspect your home for damage

Watch for fallen power lines

Listen to the radio for instructions and information

American Red Cross

Contact the South Dakota Safety Council at
or phone 605-361-7785 or 1-800-952-5539.