You can prepare for potential hazards by having a plan in place to deal with anticipated impacts of an event. Having your plan and emergency kit prepared in advance is the best way to support your family and pets. You may need to Shelter in Place or “hunker down” in your home for at least 72 hours (3 days) without needing to leave for supplies. Plan to be without power in many hazards that could occur.
Warning signs of a potential tornado
- Severe thunderstorms, with frequent thunder and lightning
- An extremely dark sky, sometimes highlighted by green or yellow clouds
- A rumbling sound or a whistling sound is caused by flying debris.
- A funnel cloud at the rear base of a thundercloud, often behind a curtain of heavy rain or hail.
- Hail or heavy rain followed by either dead calm or a fast, intense wind shift. Sometimes you can’t see a tornado because of the heavy rain.
Canada's tornado warning system
- Environment Canada is responsible for warning the public when conditions exist that may produce tornadoes. It does this through radio, television, newspapers, its internet site, as well as through its weather phone lines.
- If you live in one of Canada's high-risk areas, you should listen to your radio during severe thunderstorms.
During a tornado
If you are in a house
- Go to the basement or take shelter in a small interior ground floor room such as a bathroom, closet, or hallway.
- If you have no basement, such as an apartment or dorm, avoid windows and go to the lowest floor, a small interior room like a bathroom or closet, under a stairwell (image), or an interior hallway with no windows, or take shelter under a heavy table or desk.
- In all cases, stay away from windows, outside walls and doors.
- Do not chase tornadoes – they are unpredictable and can change course abruptly.
If you live on a farm
- Livestock hear and sense impending tornadoes. If your family or home is at risk, the livestock will be a non-issue. If your personal safety is not an issue, you may only have time to open routes of escape for your livestock. Open the gate, if you must, and then exit the area in a tangent direction away from the expected path of the twister.
If you are in an office or apartment building
- Take shelter in an inner hallway or room, ideally in the basement or on the ground floor.
- Do not use the elevator.
- Stay away from windows.
If you are in a gymnasium, church, auditorium, or mobile home
- Large buildings with wide-span roofs may collapse if a tornado hits.
- If possible, find shelter in another building.
- If you are in one of these buildings and cannot leave, take cover under a sturdy structure such as a table or desk.
- Avoid mobile homes and cars.
- More than half of all deaths from tornadoes happen in mobile homes.
- Find shelter elsewhere, preferably in a building with a strong foundation.
- If no shelter is available, lie down in a ditch away from the car or mobile home. Beware of flooding from downpours and be prepared to move.
If you are driving
- If you spot a tornado in the distance, go to the nearest solid shelter.
- If the tornado is close, get out of your car and take cover in a low-lying area, such as a ditch.
- In all cases
- Get as close to the ground as possible, protect your head and watch for flying debris.
- Do not chase tornadoes - they are unpredictable and can change course abruptly.
- A tornado is deceptive. It may appear to be standing still but is, in fact, moving toward you.
Source: Get Prepared